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Stakeholders, Hangers-On, and Copycats: The Russian Right in Berlin in 1933

Oleg Beyda and Igor Petrov

Illiberalism Studies Program Working Papers No. 6, April 2021

Photo Cover: Probuzhdenie Rossii (Russia’s Awakening) — ROND’s newspaper. June 1933 (Berlin State Library); The Vozhd’ — Heinrich Poelchau (“Andrei Svetozarov”). 1933 (State Archive of Russian Federation); Major General Aleksei Aleksandrovich Lampe. Berlin, 1933 (Museum of the Society of Russian Veterans of the Great War in San Francisco); Major General Pavel Mikhailovich (Rafailovich) Bermondt-Avalov in exile, 1920s (Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, George Grantham Bain Collection, LC-DIG-ggbain-30105); Russian philosopher Ivan Aleksandrovich Il’in. Koblenz, November 1929 (Lomonosov Moscow State University Research Library); edited by John Chrobak ©IERES2021

When you hear “Russians on Hitler’s side,” what comes to mind first? An informed reader would mention the Russian Liberation Army of Lieutenant-General Andrei Andreevich Vlasov. The connoisseurs of the obscure pages of Russian history might bring up the Russian fascists in Harbin. After all, it was John Stephan’s classic account that introduced the topic of the Russian Right in exile to the Anglo-American world, and others have since added to that line of inquiry.[1] American readers might add a few words about the maverick Anastasii Andreevich Vonsiatskii from Connecticut and the “Russian connection” of the German American Bund.[2]

This list of Russian admirers and willing helpers of Adolf Hitler’s dictatorship is far from complete. The January 1933 appointment of Hitler as Chancellor of the Reich was an event that not only changed the course of European history in tragic fashion, but also affected the lives of the Russian community in Europe and its pivotal counterpart in Germany, including the small[3] Russian community in Berlin.

Contained in an account of activities during 1932 by the Berlin Russian Committee for Aid to Children were photographs of a Christmas celebration that the committee had organized.[4] The children, in Russian national costumes, look unconcernedly into the photographer’s camera. The account was published on February 20, 1933, three weeks after Hitler’s rise to power. Some of those children, together with their parents, would be forced during the coming months to leave Germany, out of caution or after unambiguous hints from the new authorities. The fathers of others would, to their astonishment, wind up in prison cells or concentration camps. Those who remained would witness the flights of fancy of “Russian National Socialists,” who in the summer of 1933 were to organize “grandiose performances in Berlin’s Luna Park, where Russian balalaika artists played ‘Ukhar’-kupets’, where the ‘Volga-Volga’ Russian choir performed, and […] against a background of lavish decorations […] a red electric sun rose,”[5] and would also witness their ignominious decline.

This article will deal with the Russian emigrants who welcomed the taking of power by the National Socialists.[6] The emigrants that decided to make a political bet on Nazism can be divided into three main categories: “stakeholders,” “hangers-on,” and “copycats.” This categorization is relative, but it makes possible a more precise account of the motivations of the emigrants who collaborated with the German authorities. The “stakeholders” had worked with the National Socialists in one fashion or another in the past, and now hoped to receive concrete political dividends from this abstract capital. The “hangers-on,” while acknowledging certain personal differences from Nazi ideology, were nevertheless prepared to follow in its wake. The “copycats,” by contrast, concentrated on superficial imitation, but precisely because of this wound being the most noticeable.

“Crowned Pawns”: The Great Hopes and Small Forces of the Russian Monarchists

January 1933 was not the only watershed for the mass of right-wing émigrés. A split that had occurred a decade earlier among the monarchists, dividing Nikolaevtsy from Kirillovtsy, fitted readily into the same pattern. As usual, the contention was over the future of Russia. The Nikolaevtsy considered that the only possibly heir to the imperial throne was the Grand Prince Nikolai Nikolaevich, if the monarchy was to be restored at all. They often took a position of non-predetermination, contending that the anti-communist force was supposed to win the civil war with a broader national, and not a coherent political, cause in mind. The ultimate victory would be to create an opportunity for a future national assembly to take up and solve political questions, but the officers and soldiers themselves could not decide upon the appropriate political system. The Kirillovtsy supported Grand Prince Kirill Vladimirovich and his pretensions to the throne. The leaders and ideologues of the former came to be counted among the hangers-on, while the German leadership of the latter became stakeholders.

Major General Aleksei Aleksandrovich Lampe. Berlin, 1933 (Museum of the Society of Russian Veterans of the Great War in San Francisco
Major General Aleksei Aleksandrovich Lampe. Berlin, 1933 (Museum of the Society of Russian Veterans of the Great War in San Francisco

In mid-January 1933 Major-General Aleksei Aleksandrovich Lampe, the head of the Second Department of the Russian All-Military Union (ROVS)⸻the main military organisation of the Russian emigration, dominated politically by non-predeterminists⸻assessed the political prospects of the National Socialists in extremely skeptical fashion. In the elections of July 1932, the National Socialists had attracted 37.3 per cent of the vote, more than the Social Democrats and Communists combined, but had refused to enter the government. The upshot of the crisis had been new elections in November, as a result of which the National Socialists lost 4 percent of the vote while the Communists gained 2.5 percent. Lampe wrote in a private letter: “The National Socialists have undoubtedly passed the high point of their development […] and are on the decline, but the Communists are growing and improving their position.”[7] Discussing the ideology of Hitler, Lampe warned: “Mein Kampf threatens not only Russia, but literally the entire world […] it speaks of higher and lower races, while of course considering the highest to be the Germans.” Immediately moderating his tone, however, Lampe made clear that “every German demagogue at every demonstration” spoke in such terms.

According to Lampe, Hitler, if he attained power, would be unable to put his plans into effect, “not for lack of desire, but for lack of possibilities.” If the Nazis came to head the country, however, they would sooner or later come into conflict with the Bolsheviks, thereby creating opportunities for Russian emigrants to renew the struggle. As for the inevitable territorial losses that such a conflict would entail for Russia, and in particular, the aim of the Nazis to seize Ukraine, “we [the Russian emigrants] would oppose this.”[8]

Lampe was not alone in his illusions. His closest associates were the former diplomat and head of the Directorate for the Affairs of Russian Refugees in Germany Sergei Dmitrievich Botkin and the philosopher and ideologue of the White movement Ivan Aleksandrovich Il’in. Botkin, who had “more than substantial ties to the then government in the figure of Minister of Foreign Affairs Neurath,” considered that “the authorities of the time [the cabinet of Kurt von Schleicher] would cope with the situation.” Il’in, meanwhile, was thoroughly sympathetic to von Schleicher, who had issued instructions to libraries to purchase Il’in’s latest work on Bolshevism, Entfesslung der Unterwelt, co-authored with Adolf Ehrt, son of the former German consul in Saratov, a sociologist and member of the NSDAP since 1931. In June 1932, Lampe himself, via a Nazi named Römer, sought access to high-placed members of the party, convinced that their interests in the struggle against communism coincided with his own.[9] As a result, Lampe’s lecture notes “on the Cheka, on the Comintern” were handed over to one of the leading Berlin stormtroopers, Karl Ernst.[10] This had no effect.

The ties of the Kirillovtsy with the Nazis were more substantial. Unlike Lampe, Grand Prince Kirill’s representative in Germany, General Vasilii Viktorovich Biskupskii, had direct links with the Nazi hierarchy. In 1921, together with the political writer Max von Scheubner-Richter, Biskupskii had founded the Aufbau Economic-Political Society for Aid to the East, in whose office the future top Nazi functionaries Alfred Rosenberg and Arno Schickedanz would serve for a time.[11] While the popularity and influence of the National Socialists grew over time, the Russian emigrants’ plans to overthrow the Bolsheviks languished. After Scheubner-Richter was killed in the putsch of November 1923,[12] the fragile political relationships between the Nazis and the émigré milieu slipped into a state of imbalance. In the eyes of the Germans, the émigrés had ceased to be a force to be reckoned with. The NSDAP therefore decided to exercise more control over them rather than demonstrate reasonable benevolence. It would now be the Russians who would have to seek and compete for the attention of their Nazi peers.

In his book that appeared in 1927, Rosenberg called openly for Ukraine to be detached from Russia,[13] a position that even earlier had “horrified his Russian friends.”[14] When in December 1931 the Paris newpaper Vozrozhdenie (Resurrection) published a purported interview with Rosenberg, who by that time had been appointed to the post of foreign policy expert within the NSDAP, Biskupskii wrote to Rosenberg stating that he had personally always felt sympathy for him and took issue only with his support for the breaking-up of Russia.[15] The interview turned out to be fictitious, and Rosenberg’s answer was exceedingly dry: “The German state cannot construct its foreign policy on the basis of the hopes of national-minded Russians.” He stressed that Germany had no need for the now non-existent Russian Empire, but that new territories were vitally necessary to it.[16]

Achieving no success with Rosenberg, Biskupskii in the autumn of 1932 appealed to Hitler, pointing to the danger of accepting into the NSDAP “extremely doubtful Russian elements.” He met with his former subordinate Arno Schickedanz, suggesting that information be exchanged and that the NSDAP appoint a representative in Munich to play the corresponding role. Biskupskii’s only condition was that this task not be entrusted to Rosenberg unless the latter “changed his position on the Russian question and abandoned the idea of dismembering Russia.”[17] Two months later, Biskupskii removed this stipulation and in a letter to Schickedanz expressed a wish to travel soon to Berlin and meet with Rosenberg “in pleasant company and in a good mood, as in 1923,” to which the only obstacle was “a complete lack of money.”[18]

Both the Nikolaevtsy and the Kirillovtsy were thus seeking to establish or renew ties with the political high command of the NSDAP even before Hitler came to power. Meanwhile, they did not forget their fight with one another. Biskupskii sent the Prussian interior ministry a denunciation of Lampe, in which he accused Lampe of having extremely close ties to Russian Masonic groups[19] and of exercising a bad influence on Professor Il’in. Complicating the relationship of forces was the fact that virtually all of the emigrant organizations had been penetrated by Soviet agents. In Berlin, those working for Soviet intelligence included Colonel Aleksandr Khomutov, the journalist Ivan Konoplin, and also Aleksandr Gumanskii, Aleksandr Kol’berg, and Aleksei Pozniakov. The crown of the Russian tsars still remained in the field of dreams.

“Trying to Fit In”: The Uncomfortable Winter of 1933

On the evening of January 30, after Hitler had been appointed chancellor of the Reich, stormtroopers of the Sturmabteilung (SA) organized a torch-lit procession through the streets of Berlin. On their route back, they deliberately passed through the district that was considered the citadel of the Communists; in the shooting that broke out, a stormtrooper was killed, along with a policeman who had been escorting the column.[20] On February 5, the Nazis organized lavish funerals for the victims, with Hitler and Hermann Göring present. On their own initiative, a group of Kirillovtsy from the Union of Mladorossy joined the funeral procession “with a cross of fresh flowers and, attached to it, Russian national ribbons on which were written: ‘Your murderers are the hangmen of Russia.’”[21] The newspaper reporting of these events did not go unremarked by the Soviet embassy in Berlin, which directed a complaint to the Foreign Ministry.[22]

On February 8, the Russian National Committee was founded. The initiative was announced by Colonel Vladimir Aleksandrovich Adlerberg and Vsevolod Vladimirovich Kozhin, part-time workers at the film studio UFA. Around themselves, they gathered about a dozen emigrants. The committee evidently directed a petition to the Prussian Ministry of Internal Affairs expressing hopes of material support,[23] but, when this was not forthcoming, quickly fell apart.

This curious episode was, however, far from accidental; many emigrants hoped to march in step with the new authorities. Some of them regarded anti-Bolshevism as a shared ideological basis, while others were opportunists who hoped to improve their own difficult circumstances. General Lampe noted that “in the milieu of the National Socialists there are a good many Russians, and 90 per cent of them are our rejects […] I could not, of course, allow [members of ROVS] to join a foreign party. On top of that, there are also bad types who have made a living out of denouncing us. They’ll still exist, and at present even this will perhaps have disagreeable consequences.”[24]

It is a fact that the number of denunciations directed by emigrants against one another rose sharply after the Nazis came to power. According to reports in the journal Chasovoi (Sentinel), Biskupskii accused ROVS of playing “a treacherous role in the matter of the dismembering of Russia,” and Biskupskii himself considered that a whole group of emigrants, in league with British intelligence,[25] were conspiring against his collaborator Khomutov. General Konstantin Viacheslavovich Sakharov maintained that all the Russian emigrant organizations were headed by Masons.[26] In assessing the slanderous remarks that the emigrants regularly directed at one another, one should not forget the non-Russian nationalists, who also sought favor from the father of national socialism. The head of the Ukrainian National Cossack Fellowship, Ivan Poltavets-Ostrianitsa, declared in a letter to Hitler that all of the Russian conservative groups were working against Germany and that only the Ukrainian Cossacks were seeking “a rapprochement with Germany not out of purely political interests,” since they sought to “take the ideas and precepts of your movement, interpreted in accordance with Ukrainian customs and traditions, to Ukraine and the Caucasus.”[27]

Biskupskii, who from the time of the Aufbau had been joined to Poltavets by bonds of “sworn friendship,”[28] despite being aware of the latter’s habit of boasting, responded with extreme envy to Poltavets’ tales of successes with the National Socialists.[29] Though short of money, in mid-February he decided to set off for Berlin to personally rebuild bridges to his old friends who had risen so high. During this trip, which lasted a little more than a month, Biskupskii revealed clearly the main trait of his character: he was “an intriguer by nature” who in the absence of intrigue “refused to acknowledge anything.”[30] Through Schickedanz, Biskupskii managed to obtain a private meeting with Rosenberg, who now looked with disdain on his former chief and was not inclined to pay for “services rendered.”

Failing to understand or unwilling to recognize that he had become unnecessary, Biskupskii showered Schickedanz with a dozen letters setting out his projects. In one, he suggested forming a command staff of Russian National Socialists, to be directed by a secret center headed by Biskupskii. In another, he urged a fight against foreign espionage, supplementing this with petty denunciations of rivals and grandiose requests that financial support be given to him and to the Mladorossys, who were anxious to move their center from Paris to Berlin. Considering the difficult relations between Biskupskii and chief Mladorossy Aleksandr L’vovich Kazem-Bek,[31] this latter suggestion was most likely of a tactical nature. A representative of the Mladorossys, Boris Konstantinovich Likhachev, arrived in Berlin from Paris; he set about bombarding the German ministries with petitions and Mladorossy brochures, while expressing hopes of collaboration.[32] The Mladorossys also issued an appeal “To Russians in Germany,” in which it was reported that “against the German national revolution, which has defeated the communist danger in Central Europe,” a “deliberate campaign of lies and slanders” was being conducted, and that to counter the slanders, the Mladorossys had taken the initiative of organizing a struggle within the emigrant community.[33] But the monarchists, even after combining their forces, were quite unable to achieve success.

During the first weeks of February, Russian social life in Berlin continued as if nothing had happened. A charity ball of the Union for Mutual Assistance to Officers took place, a lecture on the world economic crisis was delivered by the economist Vladimir Dmitrievich Golovachev, and poetry evenings were held. On February 27, the day of the Reichstag fire (one of the organizers of which was Karl Ernst, to whom Lampe had sent his lecture notes), a talk was presented under the title “Jewry in the German public intelligentsia.”[34] A revue planned for March 1 to support the newspaper Nash Vek (Our Century) was effectively prevented from going ahead. A correspondent for the Belgrade Tsarskii Vestnik (Tsarist Courier) described the events without concealing his sympathies for the new order: “[Wealthy Jews] had organized a revue, which attracted a numerous public, when suddenly the Hitlerites appeared. They quickly seized the telephone, took control of all the exits, and began a documents check. Where there was any show of discontent, the people concerned were arrested […] The same treatment was meted out to Vertinskii’s ‘Black Rose’ cabaret […] The artists were urged either to sing in German or to cease their performances.”[35] The calm had turned out to be deceptive. The new authorities were beginning to remake society in their image.

“The Secret Centre Acts”: The Birth of ROND

On February 15, Rear-Admiral Magnus von Levetzow, a member of the NSDAP, was appointed as head of the Berlin police. In parallel with the outward purge, a corresponding internal cleansing of the police ranks went ahead. Daily police records are thick with reports of arrests of Communists and of their presumed sympathizers. Bit by bit, Russian emigrants too came under the attention of the police. On March 13, Römer invited General Lampe to the headquarters of the Berlin stormtroopers to make the acquaintance of Karl Ernst. But to Lampe’s consternation, after a tiresome wait, Ernst proved to be “busy,” and a conversation with his subordinates turned not to the prospects for mutually advantageous collaboration, but to the question of whether Lampe had ties to the Bolsheviks⸻such was the information that a rank-and-file stormtrooper had reported about him. After detailed explanations that involved the participation of Römer, who defended Lampe, the general returned home and wrote despondently in his diary: “It would seem that I waited 13 years for a government hostile to the Bolsheviks to come to power in the country […] only to have them, at our very first contact, accuse me of… Bolshevism.”[36]

Around that time, General Biskupskii attended an organizational meeting of the “command staff of the Russian National Socialists” that he had secretly been preparing to head up. The new movement had been initiated by Nikolai Dmitriev, a man with an extremely shady history. By his own account, Dmitriev had in the summer of 1920 participated in a seaborne landing conducted by the Whites, had been captured, and had spent “more than a year in the cellars of the Cheka.”[37] He described himself as a supporter of political activism; in his activist plans (in particular, attacks on the Soviet embassy), one might have been inclined to see terrorist inclinations, provocation, or else mental illness⸻symptoms similar to those that led Pavel Gorgulov, assassin of the French President Paul Doumer, to the guillotine.

Dmitriev stated that he was acting on the initiative of a secret center located in Rome and under the personal protection of Mussolini (which was, of course, an invention), and appealed to well-off Russians in Berlin for financial help, hinting that he was close to the NSDAP and adding: “For the present we […] are requesting, but soon […] we shall demand.”[38] Collaborating with Dmitriev in his scheme was an equally dubious hero⸻the unemployed Nikolai Siianko, rumored to be an agent of the GPU. (Siianko would later be arrested, and in March 1934 expelled from Germany.) A further group of participants consisted of Russian Germans, including the dentist Hugo Mentschel, the architect and school-fellow of Rosenberg Friedrich Lichinger, Heinrich Poelchau, and Roman Stump. The new organization was given the name ROND⸻the Russian Popular Liberation Movement.

Biskupskii was prudent enough to refuse to join, but out of a reluctance to “offend Lichinger” deputized his Berlin assistant Petr Shabel’skii-Bork to become part of ROND. Hearing of plans by Dmitriev and Siianko to sabotage “whatever the cost” a Berlin lecture that had been organized by the Mladorossys for the Soviet defector Sergei Vasil’evich Dmitrievskii, both Biskupskii and Schabel’skii-Bork distanced themselves from the new organization within a few days.[39]

On March 5, a few days before the founding of ROND, extraordinary elections to the Reichstag took place. With 44 percent of the vote, the Nazis did not win an absolute majority, but they obtained one by annulling all the Communist mandates (12 percent) through a Decree on the Defense of the People and the State that had been adopted after the Reichstag fire. In a campaign speech on March 2, Hitler expressed himself in extremely sharp terms on the Soviet Union and on its people who were suffering from hunger and repression, remarking sarcastically that “Marxism in practice is the refutation of Marxism in theory.”[40]

Along with the election result, this speech aroused a tide of rejoicing among the emigrants, with even ROVS clearly sensing an “initiative from below.” By way of General Lampe, a number of officers headed by Colonel Vladimir Fedorovich Florov addressed the head of ROVS, Lieutenant-General Evgenii Karlovich Miller. They were helping the police search out Russian Communists, including “traitors from among the milieu of the emigration,” and in a meeting with Wilhelm-Heinrich Helling, one of the leaders of the Stahlhelm,[41] there were “tears, rhapsodical replies, pledges of a readiness to sacrifice everything in struggle against the common enemy, communism,” and expressions of a desire to join Helling’s organization.[42]

Miller’s response verged on the personally insulting. It was understandable, he observed, that “sufferers from neurasthenia would go and offer their services, weep and fall into sentimental raptures,” but there could not be any question of joining German political parties, since it was impossible to guarantee that those who joined would not be called upon to do something “aimed to benefit German nationalism […] but harmful to the Russian people.”[43] Although the NSDAP on April 19 called a halt to the admission of new members, a loophole theoretically remained, since the SA and Schutzstaffel (SS) had permission to recruit, and in the spring of 1933 these organizations were “readily accepting Russians.”[44]

The pilgrimage of emigrants to the Stahlhelm did not go unnoticed by the police, who sent the Stahlhelm office a letter warning against collaborating with Russian emigrants who were entangled in political surveillance and who were now offering confidential information to “national organizations.” The quality of such information, the letter indicated, was extremely low. Appended to the letter was a list of dubious individuals.[45] It should be noted that the first wave of arrests of Russian emigrants in mid-March and April affected almost exclusively people on this list (Gusev, Magdenko, Marschalk, Zelenskii, Engelhardt, Konoplin, Gumanskii and Kol’berg). The fact that some of these doubled as Soviet agents was, perhaps, accidental.

“GEI ROSSIIA!”: The Copycats Show Their Claws

Watching the enviable activity of the “stakeholders,” the “hangers-on” also decided it was time to act. On March 21, Sergei Botkin sent the “valiant leader of the awakened national Germany” a greeting in the name of 28 emigrant organizations in which he wished Hitler “genuine and complete success” in his “great work.”[46] Three days earlier, Lampe, in the name of the White officers, had congratulated Göring and wished the German government “complete success in its struggle against the common enemy” to the end of “the complete annihilation of international communism.”[47] On March 24, the new Reichstag adopted by a two-thirds vote⸻with the support of the Centre Party (DZ, which dissolved itself in July) and the German National People’s Party (DNVP, which dissolved itself in June)⸻a Law granting extraordinary powers to the Chancellor of the Reich, marking the effective beginning of the Nazi dictatorship.

By coincidence, General Lampe was summoned to a police station the following day and asked to provide information on Ivan Konoplin, who had been arrested.[48] Lampe related that Konoplin had repeatedly suggested that acts of terrorism be committed against the Bolsheviks, and that in 1930 he had sought to bribe a secretary at the newspaper Rul’ (Steering Wheel) in order to learn the names of the newspaper’s sources; for this, an officers’ court of honor expelled Konoplin from the officers’ union. Replying to Konoplin’s accusation that he had been close to the “kike newspaper Rul’,” which had closed down in 1931, Lampe stated that Konoplin “had been married to a Jewish woman, and pointed this out only when she demanded money from him for his child.”[49] Konoplin remained under arrest until April 5, after which he was released before being promptly rearrested and, on April 21, expelled from the country (he was escorted to Czech territory) along with another five detainees of the “first wave.”

The arrest of Konoplin, who prior to this had “wandered about Berlin with a Hakenkreuz in his buttonhole” and had “boasted of his closeness to Russian National Socialists” dealt a severe blow to the reputation of the “founder of ROND” Dmitriev, with whom Konoplin had been on friendly terms.[50] By this time, using funds from an unknown source⸻among the possible sponsors was the Berlin landlord Shcherbina, a member of ROND⸻a number of sets of postcards and pamphlets had been published in Switzerland under the title “It is time to understand.”[51]

Depicted on the postcards was the two-headed eagle with a swastika between the heads, and in the text were slogans authored by Dmitriev: “RUSSIA must be and WILL BE FASCIST in 1933. GEI ROSSIIA! [Hey Russia!],” and in verse, “Everyone INTO ROND, and the two-headed eagle will soar mightily above the RESURRECTED HOMELAND!” Another postcard set forward the less ambitious goal of Russia’s participation in a congress of fascists in the spring of 1933. On the reverse side, it was specified that profits from the sale of the postcards would go into a “fund for the organization of a Congress of the Russ. Nat.-Soc. Movement.”[52] A pamphlet stated that only “OUR RUSSIAN FASCISM” could liberate Russia, “trampled by the dirty heels of kike rapists.” With its abundant exclamation marks and capital letters, the text aroused inevitable doubts concerning the mental health of its author.[53]

The Vozhd' — Heinrich Poelchau (“Andrei vetozarov”). 1933 (State Archive of Russian Federation)
The Vozhd’ — Heinrich Poelchau (“Andrei vetozarov”). 1933 (State Archive of Russian Federation)

On April 9, ROND’s first official function took place. The organization had had time to change its name, and now called itself the Russian National Socialist Movement (of Workers). Andrei Svetozarov delivered a lecture on the topic “Russian National Socialism as a turning point in the struggle against Marxism.” The invitation slips bore, in two languages, the following message: “Entry free of charge. Jews⸻entry forbidden.”[54]

The invitation met with a broad response, and the large hall of the Nationalhof, able to hold 700 people, was filled to capacity.[55] Svetozarov’s speech was staged in a style imitating that of the Nazis. At the entrance to the hall were money-boxes with swastikas for donations to the “struggle against the III International,”[56] mounting guard by the stage were young ROND members in white shirts, and in the hall itself were people in brown uniforms or with NSDAP badges. The impression was created that the new movement enjoyed the full support of the new authorities, and it was not by chance that the evening concluded with speeches by two German National Socialists. The attendees comprised “former officers, chauffeurs, unemployed people and even well-dressed ladies.” As people arrived, they were handed the text of a new anthem entitled “God Save the People,”[57] during the singing of which a number of women fainted from an excess of emotion. But as General Lampe noted, the hall contained none of the best-known emigrants.[58]

Occupying the places on the podium were Shcherbina, who gave an introductory address, and the lecturer Svetozarov, a young man who spoke with a German accent and hurled at the audience abrupt phrases about the struggle against the satanic regime in Russia and against Jewish dominance over the Russian people (the latter aroused “noisy approval from the listeners”). With this, the content of the lecture was exhausted. In line with the text on the postcards, Svetozarov presented ROND as “part of the world fascist movement.”[59] If ordinary members of the audience had before the lecture felt doubts about the legality of the new organization, these no longer remained. It seemed clear that the NSDAP had entrusted the organizers of the evening with establishing its Russian affiliate, and that the front entrance to it lay behind the presidium table. This impression was shared even by the naturally skeptical General Lampe, who considered that Hitler personally had charged Svetozarov with the task of organizing ROND. It is not surprising that ROND promptly expanded its ranks several times over, with about 300 people joining “off the street.”[60]

“Who Goes There?”: Competition on the Extreme Right

Concealed behind the pseudonym “Andrei Svetozarov” was Heinrich Poelchau.[61] He had been born in St. Petersburg in 1902 into a well-off Baltic German family. He had had five brothers, two of whom, according to his father, had died at the hands of the Bolsheviks.[62] After the revolution, the family moved to Germany, where they obtained German citizenship. In 1926, Heinrich and his younger brother Edgar joined the NSDAP and the Berlin SA. There, they made the acquaintance of Kurt Daluege, then SA Gruppenführer in Berlin, and from 1933 a senior official in the Prussian police.[63] These ties, along with connections to rank-and-file Berlin stormtroopers, assisted the initial organization of ROND.

In the early months of 1933, Heinrich Poelchau had been a mere commercial traveler who also peddled coffee on the Berlin streets, but chance and his own ambitions had suddenly made him the “head of the Russian Nazis.” By the time the meeting took place, a split had already occurred in ROND: “founder of the party” Dmitriev had been removed from his post, and on April 13 he was arrested by the police⸻on his account, this followed a denunciation by his former comrades.[64] Also banished from the party leadership were his friends, including Siianko and Stump,[65] and the word “workers” vanished from the party’s name.

The day after Dmitriev was arrested, General Lampe received two visitors. One of them introduced himself as Petrovskii, a member of the ROND presidium, and asked the general to provide him with information concerning “unreliable members of the organization,” specifically Dmitriev and Shcherbina. Lampe, however, surmised that “Petrovskii” was in fact Shcherbina and sent them on their way with general words; Dmitriev had not been in ROVS, and about Shcherbina he knew nothing whatsoever. Lampe complained to ROND about the use of the pseudonym, to which Svetozarov replied that assumed names were essential, since “unrestricted persecution” was beginning against the new movement. Meanwhile, the movement represented “the last chance to unite the entire emigration and to save Russia.”[66]

While General Lampe placed a question mark against this assertion, on the question of “Jewish dominance” he was in complete solidarity with the ROND orator. The boycott of Jewish goods and services that was mounted on April 1 he saw as an event to be celebrated, a blow dealt to a “dangerous enemy”; the foreign press’ reaction to the boycott he described as a provocation, an incitement to pogroms, and he expressed the hope that “the struggle against Jewish dominance” would not come to an end.[67] It is curious that the boycott was on the agenda at the sitting of the Conference of Emigrant Organizations that took place on April 8 and which Lampe attended along with the Jewish jurists Aleksei Aleksandrovich Gol’denweiser and Boris L’vovich Gershun. The conference limited itself solely to the stating of facts, noting that the victims of the sackings that had begun in agriculture and trade were not only Jewish emigrants, but Russians as well. The next sitting, due in May, did not take place and the conference effectively dissolved itself.[68]

Fearing competition from “Ukrainians and legitimists [Kirillovtsy],” Lampe and his co-thinkers tried to seize the initiative and establish close contact with the new authorities. On April 11, Il’in handed the Ministry of Internal Affairs a voluminous work entitled “Directives of the Comintern for the Bolshevisation of Germany,” consisting of hundreds of excerpts from Comintern documents that had been published in the press.[69] After “three years of suspended animation,” the work of the Russian-German Club resumed, with the economist Vladimir Fedorovich Höfding delivering a lecture on the Soviet economy. As Lampe put it, “from the first day of the national government” he, Il’in, Höfding and Botkin had “let the representatives of the government know of [their] views,” as well as showing their readiness to use their information resources and experience “to assist in every possible way.” Lampe and his associates had even formed a “January 30 Club,” named for the date of the Nazis’ accession to power.

Nor was this the sum total of the efforts made by Lampe and others to incorporate themselves into the regime. One of Lampe’s National Socialist friends (possibly Römer) had long sought to persuade him to “openly embrace the idea of forming a Russian national socialist group,” since “only with such a group” would the government communicate. After ROND’s first, highly successful public function, Lampe was urged to become one of a troika of ROND chiefs together with Poelchau-Svetozarov and General Sakharov⸻the last of whom had long described himself as the “head of the fascists” and who had “found the fascists he lacked” only in ROND. Lampe, although still hoping to substitute Il’in for the “far from mentally sound” Sakharov, agreed to begin discussions.[70]

A few days later, Lampe changed his mind, having discovered that Poelchau did not have authority from Hitler and had “received it only from middle-ranking party groups.” Now unwilling to head ROND or conduct any discussions whatsoever with Poelchau-Svetozarov, Lampe even convinced General Sakharov not to join the organization. Instead, it was decided to establish a Committee of Russian National Organizations on the basis of the 28 groups that had sent greetings to Hitler. This committee was founded on May 2, with Lampe, Il’in and Höfding on its presidium. Subsequently, it did not display great activity.[71]

Meanwhile, the epidemic of denunciations was spreading. Lampe noted that the emigration had “abandoned all restraint,” to the point that the Berlin Polizeipräsidium had asked him to tell the Russians “to stop their denunciations.” For the sake of speed, the denunciations were simply being written out in Russian.[72] During the early months, the arrests had not particularly disturbed Lampe, since none of the arrested officers had been members of ROVS, but he now realized that he and his associates Botkin and Il’in were probably among those being denounced.

This was indeed so. The attacks were coming from the most diverse directions. In the pages of Novoe Russkoe Slovo (New Russian Word), Konoplin, who had been banished to Czechoslovakia, accused Lampe of working covertly for the police, while General Biskupskii, now back in Munich, laid bare purported ties between Lampe and both the French intelligence service and the GPU.[73] Through these accusations, Biskupskii hoped to distract the attention of the authorities from his own problems; his Berlin assistant Khomutov had avoided being arrested together with other “traders in intelligence information” only because he had made a timely exit from the capital. Khomutov’s Berlin apartment had been searched, and a considerable amount of material had been taken. Biskupskii was now alarmed that “a proxy of Lampe” would look through this material, since “Russian lovers of the Entente,” who had “obviously gained access to the Prussian ministry,” were “preparing a vile provocation against [Khomutov].”[74] According to Lampe, Khomutov was in hiding in Bavaria; according to Biskupskii, he was in the Tyrol. In fact, in May he spent some time in… Moscow.[75]

“Upping the Ante”: In Search of Recognition. Spring 1933

On April 1, 1933, Rosenberg was appointed by Hitler as head of the NSDAP Office of Foreign Affairs (Außenpolitisches Amt der NSDAP)⸻a new party structure that duplicated certain functions of the Foreign Ministry. After returning to Munich from Berlin, Biskupskii promptly congratulated “Al’fred Vladimirovich” and continued to suggest collaboration in the most diverse forms, without the slightest response. In mid-April, Rosenberg visited the Bavarian capital but ignored Biskupskii.[76]

The general’s disappointment and confusion are best demonstrated by the fact that he took as good coin the next display of vainglory by Poltavets-Ostrianitsa. The latter related to Biskupskii that he had met with Rosenberg in Munich, that he had become a “proxy of the party,” that he would soon receive a high post in the SA, and that Rosenberg was hostile to the general because of Biskupskii’s disagreement on the question of dismembering Russia. The only solution was for the general to cease his activity, “stand with the Ukrainians,” and sign an agreement recognizing the “complete independence” of Ukraine, the Caucasus, the Don, the Kuban, and Turkestan. If this were done, the general would be admitted to a group of “Central Russian National Socialists,” but if he and the Mladorossys refused, Poltavets would look for allies in ROND.[77] Schickedanz assured the general that there were no such plans. Of Biskupskii’s other requests, including for material support and jobs for his secretary or for Shabel’skii-Bork, who was prepared to serve as a doorman or errand-man for the most “minimal salary,” none met with any response in Berlin.[78]

The triumphant rise of ROND continued. According to Shabel’skii-Bork, ROND “received SA uniforms for its members from the local Gau and was to take part in May 1 celebrations, but with Russian badges and headbands, as the Russian SA.”[79] In the event, a small ROND column headed by Poelchau took part in the May Day demonstration on Tempelhofer Field. The group of Russian Nazis in white shirts with red headbands bearing a white swastika in a blue rhombus carried an unusual flag (a white swastika on a blue background) and drew the attention of a German radio commentator who was reporting from the scene. A week later, on May 7, ROND members in the same uniforms paraded past the Soviet embassy on Unter den Linden to the monument to the fallen, where they laid “a wreath intertwined with Russian ribbons.”[80] On May 12, ROND organized a “first Russian–German evening” under the slogan “Russian National Socialists call upon you.”

Thanks to Poelchau’s connections, ROND was in its first weeks able to use the premises of the German stormtroopers, but after its registration as a social organization it obtained its own quarters (Meierottostraße 1) and even opened a dining-room for hard-up members.[81]

Russian philosopher Ivan Aleksandrovich Il'in. Koblenz, November 1929 (Lomonosov Moscow State University Research Library)
Russian philosopher Ivan Aleksandrovich Il’in. Koblenz, November 1929 (Lomonosov Moscow State University Research Library)

In mid-April, a ROND ideologue emerged. Aleksandr Vladimirovich Moeller-Zakomel’skii had arrived in Germany in September 1930, but gained public attention only in the spring of 1933,[82] when he decided to establish the Russian National Youth Club and turned for support to Ivan Il’in. “By the will of providence we have been placed in the center of historic deeds. Soon the period of armed conflict with the forces of the Devil will begin once more […] In this stormy hour you do not have the right to remain silent […] I shall take on myself all the menial work⸻I shall hire the hall and bring the public together […] while you will tell them of the sacred nature of the exploit, of its chivalrous character.”[83] At the same time he wrote to a former comrade of the Eurasian movement in Prague: “I’ve now been in Berlin for two years. I’ve written a great deal for the German National Socialist press. One thing is now clear to me: Russia is pregnant with the idea of a Russian fascism. We have to aid our kinfolk in this. We have to build a Russian National Socialism.”[84] It is not surprising that Moeller-Zakomel’skii saw his calling as lying in the ranks of ROND, especially since—unlike Dmitriev with his glossolalia and Svetozarov with his sloganeering populism—he possessed a certain politico-literary talent.

Il’in reluctantly accepted the offer to “set fire to the souls of the young forces of the Russian colony” and agreed to “give a lecture sometime.”[85] Soon, his article “National Socialism” appeared in the Paris journal Vozrozhdenie. The philosopher welcomed the “new spirit” and categorically refused to “judge the events of the past three months in Germany from the point of view of the German Jews.” Nevertheless, he made an obvious dig at ROND: “It is not worth discussing […] ‘when’ precisely and ‘to where’ the Russian and German enemies of communism will ‘begin marching together.’ Let precocious political neophytes chatter on about this, and let people of shady repute conceal themselves behind these phrases.”[86] Botkin, in his letter to the Foreign Ministry, characterized ROND in still sharper terms: “As usual in times of revolutionary disturbances, the second-rate elements within the Russian refugee colony are trying to make their way to the surface […] They find the moment convenient for them to turn to the NSDAP and to intrigue against those they dislike.” Botkin wrote that refugees agitated by the most fantastic plans were directing appeals to him—in particular, people who, after proclaiming Riga a Russian city, were preparing to mount a campaign against it and against the Soviet power as well.[87]

“The Luster of the Swastika”: Russian Führers Share the Rostrum

It was no accident that Riga appeared in the text of Botkin’s letter. At the beginning of April, General Pavel Mikhailovich Bermondt-Avalov, the former commander of the Western Russian Volunteer Army, arrived in Berlin from Munich. Among the emigrants in Germany were a considerable number of former army officers who as a special group had joined the Greater German Baltic Union (Großdeutscher Baltikum-Verband), which on May 21 held a procession through the streets of Berlin celebrating “the illustrious anniversary of the liberation of Riga from the power of the III International [in 1919].”[88]

In Munich, Bermondt had led a life remote from military exploits. As the police later established, his main source of income had been “marriage frauds and machinations with gratuities that […] make it impossible to describe him as anything but a swindler, [who] has appropriated substantial sums of money from German citizens, especially German women.” Even his plans to conduct terrorism on the territory of the USSR had as their goal not so much direct acts of violence as collecting funds for organizing them.[89]

Major General Pavel Mikhailovich Rafailovich) Bermondt-Avalov in exile, 1920s (Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, George Grantham Bain Collection LC-DIG-ggbain-30105)
Major General Pavel Mikhailovich Rafailovich) Bermondt-Avalov in exile, 1920s (Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, George Grantham Bain Collection LC-DIG-ggbain-30105)

The Berlin celebrations conducted by Bermondt’s old comrade-in-arms Captain Helling[90]⸻the same person to whom Florov in March had made his pilgrimage⸻allowed the general to forget his dreary existence and again feel that he was in the saddle. He immediately engaged in a skirmish with General Lampe,[91] declared in an interview that he “could not fail to be delighted by the latest events in Germany,”[92] and promised to “renew the union of the Baltic Warriors on the traditional basis of Russian-German friendship and trust.” Bermondt even expressed the hope that in the ranks of the Red Army would be found people who, “beneath the sign of the swastika, would support the liberation movement from within.”[93]

The paths of the general and of ROND could not fail to intersect, and in May Bermondt joined ROND[94] together with several other generals, including Konstantin Sakharov, who earlier had refused to do so.[95] To the surprise of observers, the generals in no way headed up the movement; Sakharov “took on the role of ‘deputy’ leader,” but “finished up working in the ‘information department,’” where he delivered lectures to his comrades on the life and deeds of Peter the Great.[96] This was because Poelchau had taken the fateful decision that any real Movement (Bewegung)⸻the model, of course, was the NSDAP⸻needed a Leader (Vozhd’) with a capital L and that no-one apart from him was suited to this post. “We are not holding elections. The strength of fascism is faith in the Vozhd’!”[97]

On June 8, the first issue of the newspaper Golos RONDa (The Voice of ROND) appeared. In its pages, Poelchau issued a proclamation in the name of “a powerful popular movement, called upon to save Russia.” The “Vozhd’ of the Russian National Socialists” intended to make Russia “a Christian country, a country of brotherhood and love […] a country of peasants, a country of proprietors, a country of free people,” and beneath “the sign of the Cross of Truth […] to free it from the chains of the Third International.”[98] General Lampe was to comment: “If you take the trouble to read through the proclamation, you will see that [Poelchau] has simply gone out of his mind, and that seriously, his weak head has begun to spin.”[99] Indeed, the impression was created that the former coffee-peddler was in the grip of mania grandiosa, but the “street,” for which Professor Il’in felt such disdain, was prepared to accept even an obvious caricature of a Vozhd’ so long as he bore the luster of the swastika.

Probuzhdenie Rossii (Russia’s Awakening) — ROND’s newspaper. June 1933 (Berlin State Library)
Probuzhdenie Rossii (Russia’s Awakening) — ROND’s newspaper. June 1933 (Berlin State Library)

Before people’s eyes, the movement was growing and acquiring an infrastructure. A propaganda department emerged, holding weekly closed and periodic open gatherings, as well as a cultural-educational college with musical-vocal and theatrical sections, and a Women’s Committee. There was also a labor department and “ROND-Aid,” which accepted contributions of money and goods. A chancery appeared in which the Vozhd’ observed regular reception hours; in the intervals between other matters, he visited the provinces, where he opened local ROND departments. The first chapters opened in Dresden and Silesia. In like manner to the SA, district departments were organized in Berlin, for example in eastern Berlin under the direction of Golovachev.[100]

Dmitriev’s slogan “Gei Rossiia!” (Hey Russia!) was discarded and replaced with “Slava Rossii!” (Glory to Russia!). At one of ROND’s evening functions, the touring French nationalist Alfred Fabre-Luce stated: “I am convinced that the hour is not far off when an authentically national popular movement will sweep away the kikes and Masons who are now in power.”[101] On June 10, the German stormtroopers handed over to ROND a Russian flag that had been taken as a trophy during the First World War from the armored cruiser Rostislav.[102] Other “red, white and blue banners, bearing the cross of truth,” were solemnly blessed by Orthodox priests.

In the words of Lampe, “it was made clear to the authorities just what ROND was and who made it up […] Everyone who was suffering and burdened with passport misunderstandings [benefited], since the National Socialist officials willingly assisted the Russian National Socialists.” However, “the authorities took the attitude that ROND did not present a problem for them. They did not regard it seriously, or take measures to purge it.” The result was that the official charged with keeping ROND in line relied on Lampe for information.[103]

Other groups continued, in tiresome fashion, to make their presence felt. At the end of May, one of the politicians of the DNVP, evidently at the request of Botkin, complained to the Reichskanzlei that no reply had been received to the greeting from 28 Russian organizations, while it was “well known that certain people of a different cast of mind had been able to win the confidence of the National Socialist government, although their fitness had not been verified in the necessary fashion.” The Reichskanzlei replied drily that the greetings had been “received and taken into account.”[104]

Also to meet with silence were the Mladorossys, who until July continued incessantly bombarding the Foreign Ministry and the Reichskanzlei with messages and with their newspapers, in which Kazem-Bek welcomed “the collapse of Communism in Germany,” which was accelerating the “onward movement of the Russian national revolution.”[105] Boris Likhachev even turned up personally at the Foreign Ministry, where he told officials that it was really the Mladorossys who were the Russian National Socialist movement. To a question concerning ROND, Likhachev replied diplomatically that his attitude to that organization was “ambiguous.” The Foreign Ministry sent a memorandum to the Reichskanzlei in which it was noted that the Mladorossys, whose center was in Paris, were training cadres in case the Bolshevist system collapsed. In Berlin, it was considered that these efforts were not particularly serious and that even if Bolshevism were to fall, the Russian people would scarcely turn to “cadres educated abroad.” As a result, the Mladorossys did not receive a reply.[106]

Meanwhile, Nikolai Dmitriev, who had quickly been thrown out of the party, was freed on May 10. On leaving prison, he discovered that his brainchild had been confiscated by the “impostor-leader” Poelchau. No real Vozhd’ could put up with such treachery. On June 2, Dmitriev issued a newsletter duly entitled “ROND” in which he declared his rights to the movement, something that would have left bystanders in confusion⸻how many vozhd’s were there, who was the Vozhd’, and which of the two was destined to save Russia? The issue of Golos RONDa (The Voice of ROND) that appeared a week later had to be renamed Probuzhdenie Rossii (Russia’s Awakening) and to report that “ROND” and ROND were unrelated.[107] To add to his efforts in print, the Vozhd’ Poelchau-Svetozarov decided to remove his rival vozhd’. A week later, five hefty members of a ROND squad seized Dmitriev on a Berlin street, dragged him to headquarters, and called the police. When the police detail arrived, it was explained to them that Dmitriev had, “using the most abusive language,” “insulted the German Führer, the Government and the NS idea.” Dmitriev was immediately arrested once again; discovered in his possession was a passport in the name of “Karl Krause.”[108] It seemed that the Vozhd’ had emerged victorious.

“Burnt by the Sun”: Arrests and Quarrels, Summer 1933

The second wave of arrests of Russian emigrants, which began in June 1933, differed from the first in that it was difficult to detect any logic in the choice of the accused. The volume of “Russian denunciations” had evidently exceeded the ability of the police to sift through them in advance. The authorities thus resorted to a different tactic: first arresting people, and then sorting them out. Perhaps the oddest of the new arrests was the detention in a concentration camp of the writer Roman Gul’; he found himself in custody for the sole reason that the German translation of his biography of Boris Savinkov bore the title Roman eines Terroristen, which was interpreted by the police as praise for Bolshevik (!) terror.[109]

From mid-June, persistent rumors began to circulate to the effect that due to the discovery of compromising materials among the papers that had been seized during the search of Khomutov’s apartment, General Biskupskii had been arrested.[110] These rumors became a reality on 28 June, when Biskupskii was indeed arrested in Munich. His spouse quickly set about employing all her contacts, writing a letter to Schickedanz and asking the aged widow of von Scheubner-Richter to telephone the head of the Munich police, Heinrich Himmler. Biskupskii’s wife was told that her husband’s position was hopeless: Himmler noted that “the order was entirely from Berlin” and that in Munich they had nothing against the general.[111] It later emerged that on May 24, the Berlin Gestapo had communicated to Munich that Biskupskii was a devoted supporter of the Entente, did not conceal his hostility to Germany, was an absolute enemy of the National Socialist movement, and also had ties to the GPU.

Then followed a second denunciation. It was alleged that Khomutov, through various military organizations (he did in fact carry on a correspondence with the Stahlhelm and informed on it for Moscow),[112] had effectively spied on Hitler and that among Khomutov’s papers were indications that Biskupskii was linked to foreign intelligence services. The first part of these accusations was completely absurd, and the Bavarian police were unable to prove the second, but Biskupskii nevertheless remained in custody until September 19, being released only after he had signed an undertaking to refrain from any political activity.[113] His three months of imprisonment finally disabused him of his illusions concerning the “dividends” that might be derived from his “old friendship” with former subordinates in the Aufbau.

Arrested at the same time, along with half a dozen other Ukrainian activists, was Biskupskii’s “sworn friend” Poltavets-Ostrianitsa.[114] On August 7, from his Berlin prison, Poltavets-Ostranitsia sent Rosenberg a letter in which he complained about the slanders of ill-wishers and mentioned that he was “a National Socialist in soul and body,” who during the difficult years of 1923 and 1924 had published the journal, founded in honor of the fallen von Scheubner-Richter, “‘Ukrainian Cossack’⸻with a swastika!”[115]The new authorities had no need to profess respect for the Ukrainian emigrants either. As the war would show, at best, the Ukrainians were to be utilized for the German—not the Ukrainian—cause and under strict German command.

Exactly a month after Biskupskii was arrested, the same fate befell his Berlin rival⸻the police detained General Lampe. This time, too, the police lacked any clear basis for the arrest. The situation mirrored Biskupskii’s case, with denunciations from Munich reaching Berlin. Early in August, a small item appeared in Völkischer Beobachter stating that Lampe had been arrested for having connections with foreign intelligence; he was alleged to have worked partly for France and partly for the GPU.[116] In this case as well, the wife and friends of the arrested man did everything they could, but after three weeks in a Berlin prison Lampe was transferred to Munich, where he wrote in his diary, “In the cell above me is General Biskupskii!” Lampe was freed only on September 8, and at first only temporarily, in connection with the serious illness of his daughter (she was to die a few days later). Before being released, he too signed an undertaking that he would not speak out against the government. He did so, he insisted, while protesting that he had “never done such a thing.”

On August 5, the wave reached Professor Il’in. His house was searched, his letters were looked over, and he himself was taken away for interrogation, where he was asked about his source of income and for details of the people abroad with whom he corresponded. After the questioning, he was released, although required to sign a declaration: “I am aware that if I ‘engage in politics’, I will be sent to a concentration camp. To this I have added a distinct point, to the effect that the authorities themselves provide me with inducement through their anti-communist mission.”[117]

The search of Il’in’s home placed a sort of full stop on his hostility to ROND. After Il’in’s publication in Vozrozhdenie of his thoughts on “shady individuals,” Moeller-Zakomel’skii had made a number of attempts to dispute Il’in’s declaration that ROND was “a department of the International,” while Svetozarov was “fulfilling the directives of the Comintern.” Although Il’in had stated that he “considered it beneath his dignity to be acquainted with people belonging to ROND,” Moeller-Zakomel’skii complained to Il’in that his (Moeller’s) work in the Russian National Youth Club was being thwarted by sinister forces. It had been possible only to organize a lecture by the philosopher Nikolai Sergeevich Arsen’ev;[118] the next lecture, on the position in the USSR, had been broken up by people “linked by close friendship to Masonic and Jewish circles” who were preventing a struggle against “Jewish violence.” Moeller-Zakomel’skii berated Il’in for collaborating with the “Jewed to the core” Russian Cultural Committee, and demanded that he cease “unworthy intrigues” against ROND and against Svetozarov personally, since the latter was “a selfless, idealistic and passionate man, possessing great forcefulness and willpower, the rare and unique qualities of a leader.”[119]

Il’in replied in elliptical fashion with his next article in Vozrozhdenie, aimed at “provocateurs”: “Everywhere the ‘new party’ is established, as for example through a meeting, open to all comers, every emigrant […] needs to understand instantly that the people who come off the street and into the party will include not just ordinary chance citizens but also a whole crowd of overdressed and over-painted enemies […] whoever sets out to create a ‘new party’ by such a method will at best be admitting to political stupidity and harmfulness.”[120]

While prior to this Moeller-Zakomel’skii had attacked Il’in only at internal gatherings of ROND, defying an effective ban by Poelchau on attacks on other Russian national organizations,[121] after the Vozrozhdenie article appeared, he fired a volley at Il’in in the lead column of his Nazi news sheet. In the space of a month or so, Il’in had been transformed in the eyes of Moeller-Zakomel’skii from a man “with a passionate heart” who had “very few, almost no” equals to an “empty braggart” who imagined himself “the alpha and omega of the Russian rebirth,” a “leading light of emigrant squabbling, smitten by the passions of his vanity and self-love” who exerted himself to the utmost in his slander against ROND. The task of ROND, the columnist continued, was to restore to the rank and file emigrants, whom Il’in regarded with such disdain, “a sense of their own worth, a sense of national pride.”[122] The methods were not specified.

A few days later, Il’in received a letter from a passenger who had travelled in the same metro wagon as a number of ROND members. “Your name was uttered along with a stream of choice abuse. When I asked one of them what Professor Il’in had done to offend them, he declared to me, with more of the same abuse, that you were making insinuations against them both to emigrants and to the Germans. They threatened to beat you half to death.”[123] To all appearances, Moeller-Zakomel’skii had also denounced Il’in to the police, and this had been the reason for the search and interrogation.[124]

“The Eagle Lands on the Moon”: ROND Goes into a Spin

By this time, the pages of Probuzhdenie Rossii had started giving off an overpowering aroma of the Vozhd’⸻with a capital V. Earlier, the newspaper had carried an eclectic mix of texts, from the anti-Semitic hysterics of Moeller-Zakomel’skii to Golovachev’s arguments concerning the collapse of the Soviet economy. Now, however, readers became acquainted with photographs of the savior of Russia; depicted in them was a baby-faced individual sprouting a Hitler-style moustache. Then subscribers were treated to the early poetic creativity of Poelchau: “Over the field of death the new dawn of Russia bursts into flame. The trumpet sounds triumphantly at the entry of the Russian vozhd’.” Finally, readers were informed that when a branch was opened in Hamburg, the ROND members, together with the slogan “Slava Rossii!” (Glory to Russia!), cried “Slava Vozhdiu!” (Glory to the Vozhd’!). Moeller-Zakomel’skii then explained that the Vozhd’ was the person “whom Providence granted to the Russian people.”[125]

In Berlin’s Lunapark on July 2, ROND organized a summer festival, which, despite the charging of an entry fee, was a considerable success. Listed on the program were a speech by the Vozhd’, performances by a choir of German stormtroopers and a balalaika orchestra, a “folk scene before the Moscow Kremlin,” and a “monster firework display,” while over the scene hung “a huge Russian Two-Headed Eagle.”[126] The first fireworks display was followed by another, and then by a “Volga festival on the Spree,” during which “a Volga boat” sailed about the German capital carrying 200 artists, including a Kuban choir and the inevitable balalaika players.

ROND was at the height of its brief fame. The newspaper Probuzhdenie Rossii began publishing a parallel edition in German. The German newspapers in their turn printed approving notes and articles about ROND. The Berlin Bishop Tikhon, who in April had declined to bless the flags of ROND, now spoke at gatherings held to celebrate the Day of Russian Culture, “which Russian National Socialism combines with the memory of the holy Prince Vladimir, who brought Christianity to Rus’.”[127]

On July 2, the same day when the first festival was held in the Lunapark, two aircraft were involved in a mid-air collision 2,000 kilometers to the east of Berlin. Both machines went into a spin, and one pilot was killed. The student of the secret German aviation school near Lipetsk was listed as Paul, but in fact his name was Arnold Poelchau.[128] The next ROND meeting opened with an announcement that “the Vozhd’ A. P. Svetozarov” would not be present “due to a severe loss, the untimely death of his brother.” It was suggested that members “stand and observe a minute of silence to express sympathy with the grief of the Vozhd’.”[129] By symbolic coincidence, this was also the day when ROND went into a tailspin.

As ROND drifted rapidly from epigonism to parody, something occurred that a totalitarian party can never afford to let happen to itself. From being a dangerous structure, bristling with ferocious stormtroopers, the Movement (also with a capital letter!) was transformed into an object of ridicule, and the Vozhd into a comic figure. Earlier, ROND had met with reproaches for being “a purely German organisation,” with its leading posts held by Germans who hid their identity beneath Russian names and who “attached foreign emblems to the Russian national flag.”[130] Now, ROND was simply being laughed at.

Mikhail Kol’tsov set the tone on the pages of the Moscow Pravda (Truth): “Take a hundred and fifty Russian lackeys out of late-night Berlin taverns, dress them in white shirts, attach swastikas to their sleeves, rename the puny poet Heinrich Poelchau from the authentically Russian Svetozarov, and let this Christ-loving host march under the Brandenburg Gate!”[131] Nikolai Volkovyskii, writing for the Riga newspaper Segodnia (Today), was not to be outdone, devoting three extensive items of reportage to ROND. From the other flank, they were supported by the White emigrant Colonel Imshenetskii, who in Berlin published a whole pamphlet entitled “Khlestakovs of our time.” Imshenetskii distributed the pamphlet around the German ministries with an attached memorandum in which he characterized the actions of ROND as follows: “1) absolutely improper in relation to the German National Socialist government, 2) provocative and demagogic in relation to the Russian emigration, 3) criminally light-minded in relation to agents of the III International.[132]

Once again at liberty, the vozhd’ Nikolai Dmitriev dealt another powerful politico-literary blow, publishing a full-format newspaper under the uniquely correct name “ROND.” Half of the newspaper was taken up with texts in German, adorned with portraits of Bismarck and Hitler and announcing the founding of NRAP⸻the National-Socialist Russian Workers Party. The second half of the newspaper was in Russian and was dedicated to the struggle against Svetozarov. The Vozhd’ was renamed Temnobazarov and his newspaper “Russia’s Awakening” became Zabluzhdenie Rossii (Russia’s Delusion). The false Vozhd’, anxious to “transplant a foreign ram’s head onto an emaciated Russian body,” was branded in word and in caricature, while the “banner of Russian fascism” was restored to “the founder of the Russ. Nat. Soc. Movement.”[133]

“Temnobazarov” could not endure such an insult, and replied to Dmitriev in the lead column of his own newspaper. The question was put sharply: which of Dmitriev’s six pseudonyms was his real surname, and did Dmitriev not want “a confrontation with the witness Otar-Bek, who might establish [his] intimacy with pickpockets?”[134] So great was the indignation of the Vozhd’ that even the hastily drawn up ROND program was relegated to the second page.

In line with hallowed tradition, a split was ripening within ROND. ROND member Petr Avdeev directed a warning to the NSDAP Office of Foreign Affairs and the Foreign Ministry to the effect that Poelchau and Lichinger were “immature individuals,” with the former “feeling himself to be a future Russian Hitler,” and suggested the creation of a “Russian national-socialist popular organization,” a plan for which he put forward.[135] In any case, and even without the trouble created by Avdeev, Lichinger was expelled from ROND at the end of August; another activist of the early ROND, Shcherbina, also disappeared entirely from the newspaper’s pages. Night was looming over Lunapark.

“Die Fahnen runter”: The Last Weeks of ROND

The marches by ROND and the Baltic Union along Unter den Linden during May drew the attention of the Soviet embassy. On June 9, a “letter from Berlin” entitled “The White Guard hirelings of the German counterrevolution” appeared in Pravda. The letter declared ROND to be a “reservoir for agents of German National Socialism abroad.”[136] A note was sent to the German ambassador in Moscow; this was forwarded to Berlin with the commentary that the Soviet queries concerning ROND had been answered, with the Soviet side informed that so far none of the emigrants had been awarded a German decoration or had been appointed to command a German regiment, and that no German factory had been named in honor of Bermondt-Avalov.[137] A month later, in forwarding Kol’tsov’s feuilleton, the embassy transmitted a complaint from the Soviet side: if ROND had received a trophy banner, this could not have happened without the approval of the government departments of Germany. From Berlin came the reply that neither ROND nor Bermondt-Avalov should be assigned the slightest political significance and that an investigation concerning the banner had “yielded no result.”[138]

The Soviet ambassador, Lev Mikhailovich Khinchuk, complained about ROND directly to Foreign Minister von Neurath.[139] ROND was obliged to declare publicly that it had not been established using “funds from the German government or… Herr Rosenberg.”[140] Subsequently, the NSDAP Office of Foreign Affairs declared through a newspaper that it had not founded and was not financing ROND, which had arisen out of a private emigrant initiative.[141]

Unexpectedly, another enemy of ROND turned out to be the Ministry of the Reichswehr. Minister Werner von Blomberg expressed a fear that German officers, out of misplaced feelings of comradeship, might establish ties with and provide help to former Russian officers, now members of ROND, and that this would create political difficulties. Arguing that the efforts of ROND were “without doubt a burden on Russo-German relations,” Blomberg urged the government to ban ROND and dissolve it.[142]

On August 13, the German newspapers published a report on the banning of the “Russian National Socialist movement” in Mecklenburg and the confiscation of its property.[143] This was the beginning of the end. The following day, the German Foreign Ministry approached the Gestapo with a proposal that ROND be outlawed throughout Germany, its property be confiscated, and its controversial banner be handed over to a military museum. A Gestapo official replied that there were two RONDs and that the approach to them needed to be different. The small “Dmitriev” ROND, consisting of 12 people, would be dissolved and its members sent to a concentration camp. Nikolai Dmitriev was thus arrested for the third time and wound up in the Brandenburg am Havel concentration camp, where he encountered Ivan Poltavets-Ostrianitsa.[144] Various individuals in the larger “Svetozarov” ROND, which numbered 1,100 people, had both personal and business contacts within the Interior Ministry; members of this organization would thus be banned from wearing uniforms, from employing symbols, and from participating in public actions. The authorities would follow attentively the further development of events.[145]

On August 20, Probuzhdenie Rossii reported that the Vozhd’ had been “issued with an order on the reorganization of the Movement on new principles,” since “people having little in common with our idea of disinterested service to the Homeland and above all seeking […] personal advantage” had “begun adhering to the rapidly growing organization.” Those to blame, naturally, were Jews, described in this case as “Russian Spaniards.” But the Jews were not entitled to rejoice, since world-wide Judeo-Masonry had in no way defeated Russian National Socialism.[146] In Russian Berlin, confusion reigned. How could this be? Only yesterday the Vozhd’ had promised to lead them “to the wide Russian fields” and today they were being banned from wearing uniforms and badges!

The last ROND activity in which Poelchau took part was probably a meeting on August 24. As previously, he was welcomed with raised arms and cries of “Glory to the Vozhd’!”. The Vozhd’ reported that he had spent a week in seclusion, during which he had re-examined his “words, thoughts and actions” and had come to the conclusion that he had made no mistakes. He had, though, experienced the same as “a woman ready to become a mother.” ROND, he said, would soon undergo a rebirth, but it would continue to live. Bermondt-Avalov then spoke, hailing the Russian peasant as an ally in the struggle against the Soviet regime.[147]

This was something like the passing of the baton in a relay race. In the final days of August, as if by the waving of a magic wand, the Vozhd’ vanished completely from the pages of Probuzhdenie Rossii and his place was taken by the “General Council of the R.N.S.D.,” the Russian National and Social Movement. It was abruptly announced that the organization ROND-Aid, the same one for whose benefit the Kuban Cossacks had so recently “sailed out from behind the island” on the Spree, had no association with the RNSD.[148] This should probably be interpreted as meaning that along with the disappearance of the Vozhd’ (who, rumor had it, had been granted a four-week leave), the cash-box had vanished as well. Golovachev, who was appointed head of the Berlin branch of the RNSD, promised to “put a stop to any kind of disgraceful practice” and to take pains to ensure that “not a single penny” vanished without trace.[149]

The General Council of the RNSD consisted of eight people, with Bermondt-Avalov as its president. It was announced that all attestations and authorities made out on ROND forms were null and void, and would need to be replaced.[150] Moeller-Zakomel’skii, named as secretary of the new council, was certain that all the troubles now lay in the past. He reported to a correspondent that he was planning to increase the size of the newspaper to eight pages, and declared that since “world Jewry” had given sufficient proof of “its true essence (a Jewish-Masonic blockade of the young Germany),” there was now only “one path to the salvation of Russian culture, religion and statehood,” a path lying “across the corpses of the Mordecais of the twentieth century.” The word “corpses,” he insisted, should be understood “spiritually.”[151]

Early in September, the head of the North American fascists, Anastasii Andreevich Vonsiatskii, flew into Berlin. He took part in two evening gatherings of the dying ROND, expressing confidence that “before long all the Russian National Socialist and fascist organizations” would “converge into a single powerful all-national movement,”[152] and even took a first step in that direction. On September 22, Vonsiatskii’s All-Russian Fascist Organization, the Union of Mladorossys (Kazem-Bek flew in especially from Paris to take part in the joint “work for the liberation of Russia”) and ROND signed an agreement on collaboration, forming a “powerful united front of struggle.” In the words of Vonsiatskii, the front would soon be joined by the fascists of the Far East. If the whole fist were to be clenched, only a fifth participant, ROVS, was required.[153]

Although ROND did not receive any additional financing from Vonsiatskii, this meeting probably served definitively to bury the organization. Extensive foreign political contacts did not correspond in any way to the Gestapo’s calculations where ROND was concerned.[154]

“On September 28, at the designated time, the public arrived at the dining-room of the ‘Victoria’ restaurant for the next meeting of ROND. But the doors to the dining-room were shut, and a ‘Nazi’ standing at the entrance explained that the meeting would not take place, since the premises were occupied by ‘National Socialists.’”[155] In the newspapers that morning, a notice had appeared stating that ROND in Prussia had been banned by the Gestapo, since the leadership of the movement had not succeeded in building it in a National Socialist spirit, and that it had been penetrated by elements who were not Russian by blood or National Socialists in spirit, and who had spread false information in pursuit of undesirable foreign political goals.[156] The ROND offices had been searched, and all correspondence and business records had been removed. The General Council sought to object that the movement was in the midst of reforming itself and was now called the RNSD, which meant that the ban did not extend to it,[157] but the Gestapo knew exactly what it was outlawing.[158]


Despite their differing aims and approaches to history, the hangers-on, stakeholders, and copycats suffered similar fates. They were arrested (in the cases of Biskupskii, Lampe, and Dmitriev) or subjected to searches (in the cases of Il’in and ROND) and were banned from independent political activity (in all cases). Neither the hopes placed by the stakeholders on a “glorious common past” nor the calculations of the hangers-on concerning “shared goals,” and still less the caricature-like imitation practiced by the copy-cats, met with understanding among the Nazi elite. The Russian emigrant community was perceived by this elite as too small in number, too incapable, and too compromised to be paid serious attention. Thus, from the moment the Nazis came to power, the question was not of mutually respectful collaboration with the Russian exiles in the fight for a shared German-Russian cause. Instead, the NSDAP took to exclusively controlling the Russians, utilizing few of them for German ends, under German command, and only when it saw fit.

The repressive approach taken by the authorities was seen by its victims as accidental and the result of a misunderstanding. In late October 1933, Lampe contacted the NSDAP Office of Foreign Affairs and discussed collaboration. In September 1933, Il’in’s co-author Adolf Ehrt headed the organization Anti-Komintern, financed by the Ministry of Propaganda, and recruited Il’in to work with him. Also collaborating with Anti-Komintern were the Berlin Mladorossys. Finally, Biskupskii, who had grown disappointed with Rosenberg, found a new patron in the person of Himmler. With that change, he was yet again granted an opportunity to gather information on other emigrants. This time, however, Biskupskii was able to supply his denunciations, particularly of Lampe and Il’in, directly to the Gestapo.

Arising in the place of ROND in October 1933 was the Party of Russian Fascist-Liberators. Although it was not officially registered, its headquarters was located exactly where that of ROND had been, its meetings were held in the same hall, and it was headed by the same General Bermondt-Avalov. By Christmas, in line with tradition, the party had split; it was abandoned by the majority of its leadership, including former members of the General Council Moeller-Zakomel’skii and Golovachev. Each side accused the other of intrigues and slanders. The ideologue of the “Russian Liberators”, Moeller-Zakomel’skii moved on and organized his own Circle for Russian Cultural-Political Studies. The vacant place was now claimed by German Moellenhoff who became Bermondt-Avalov’s chief of staff.[159] This structure was not to prove long-lasting either; shortly after the Night of the Long Knives, Bermondt-Avalov contrived another purge of his own ranks, expelling Moellenhoff and several of the latter’s comrades from the party. In reply, Moellenhoff and his followers expelled Bermondt from their own party fragment. On July 18, 1934, Bermondt-Avalov, responding to a demand from the Gestapo, dissolved the “liberators”; at the same time, however, he instructed them in a secret message to work underground. The Gestapo arrested him, and after a three-month investigation, released him subject to a ban on his engaging in any political activity in Germany.

Despite his public approval of the actions of Hitler and his government, and his personal acquaintance with von Neurath, Botkin in 1934 left Germany and never returned. Others to leave the country were Bermondt-Avalov, Il’in, and Khomutov. In 1937, the latter was summoned to the USSR, where he was arrested and soon shot. The career of the writer Konoplin proved more bizarre. From Czechoslovakia he moved to Greece, where in 1937 he was exposed as a Soviet agent and jailed, to be freed after the occupation of the country by the Nazis. He collaborated with the Sicherheitsdienst (SD), but after the war settled in East Berlin, working for the Soviet occupation forces. He was arrested in 1948 and died in 1953 in a Soviet camp. In May 1945, the former head of the Silesian branch of ROND, Colonel Cherviakov, had also died in a camp, but in his case a Nazi one. Cherviakov outlived Hitler by just a single day.

In 1936, thanks to Himmler’s patronage, General Biskupskii became head of the Office of Russian Emigrant Affairs. A project entirely devoid of political ambitions, the creation of the Office was part  of the Gleichschaltung (unification) policy toward the émigré organizations. The sole driving force behind the action was the German desire to exercise stricter control over the exiled Russians. The existence of the Office guaranteed that the exiles would be aware that the higher-ups were watching them. Among its tasks was the registration of the Russian Jews residing in Berlin; a list of their addresses was forwarded to Gestapo. Most of those Jewish residents who had been unfortunate enough to remain in Germany were subsequently sent to concentration camps. As head of the Office, Biskupskii continuedhis collaboration with the Gestapo and with… General Lampe, who also became an informer for that organization. Biskupskii died in Munich soon after the end of the war. His “sworn friend” Poltavets-Ostrianitsa also returned to Bavaria after the war but left political activity and delivered lectures on parapsychology. Also among the Displaced Persons (DP) in Bavaria was Nikolai Dmitriev.

The former Andrei Svetozarov, now once again Heinrich Poelchau, lived during the war in Berlin. His party records show that he twice lost his NSDAP badge, which can, if one wishes, be interpreted as evidence that he found truth at the bottom of a glass. It is possible to imagine him sitting in his cramped apartment. Hanging on the wall is a photograph of ROND’s May Day procession; he looks at it and recalls how the members of the amassed choir shouted “Glory to the Vozhd’!” and raised their right arms. But the siren sounding outside the window tears him away from the world of daydreams. Once again, he has to run for the bomb shelter… Someday this war is going to end.

Dr Oleg Beyda holds a PhD in History and currently teaches at the University of Melbourne. He has authored a series of publications on military and civil collaboration in Europe during the Second World War, Russian emigration, and the German-Soviet War, including those for Cambridge University Press (2017). Dr Beyda’s recent publications include the annotated memoirs of an émigré who served in the Spanish ‘Blue Division’, Un ruso blanco en la División Azul. Memorias de Vladimir I. Kovalevski (in Spanish 2019; in Russian 2021), as well as an article on the Bulgarian military missions on the German-Soviet front (in English 2020). Together with Igor Petrov, he is currently finalising a book on the Russian Liberation Army (ROA) and Lieutenant General Andrei Vlasov (forthcoming in English 2022).

Igor Petrov is an independent researcher based in Munich. His main areas of interest include Russian emigration in Germany prior to, during and after the Second World War and Soviet collaboration with the Axis powers during the Second World War. He has translated, edited and commented on the Russian publication of Alfred Rosenberg’s diaries, Politicheskii dnevnik Al’freda Rozenberga: 1934–1944 (2015) and General Gotthard Heinrici’s diaries. The latter book, Zametki o voine na unichtozhenie. Vostochnyi front 1941–1942 gg. v zapisiakh generala Kheinritsi, originally edited by Professor Johannes Hürter, has sold out two print runs (co-translated with Oleg Beyda, 2018 and 2020). Petrov’s works have been published in numerous journals and magazines, including Neprikosnovennyi Zapas and Istoricheskaia Ekspertiza.

[1] John J. Stephan, The Russian Fascists: Tragedy and Farce in Exile, 1925–1945 (New York: Harper and Row, 1978); Susanne Hohler, Fascism in Manchuria: The Soviet-China Encounter in the 1930s (London, New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2017).

The authors would like to thank Andrei Gusachenko, Anatolii Voronin, Vadim Chvertko, Konstantin Semenov, and our interpreter Renfrey Clarke for their help with this article.

[2] Arnie Bernstein, Swastika Nation: Fritz Kuhn and the Rise and Fall of the German-American Bund (New York: St Martin’s Press, 2013), 224–225, 280.

[3] About 60,000 Russian emigrants were living in Germany in 1932; the Berlin colony numbered 8,320 people.

B. Dodenhoeft, “Laßt mich nach Rußland heim”: Russische Emigranten in Deutschland von 1918 bis 1945 (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 1993), 10; Vozrozhdenie, Paris, no. 2849, May 21, 1933, p. 5.

[4] United Nations Archive (UN Archive), Geneva, C 1253/168.1, Nansen Office for Refugees in Germany (Berlin), Correspondence with organizations of Russian refugees, A–N, 1928–1937.

[5] A. I., “Ot Pel’khau do Skoropadskogo,” Poslednie novosti, Paris, no. 4651, December 16, 1933, p. 4.

[6] This topic has repeatedly drawn the attention of historians: Walter Laqueur, Russia and Germany: A Century of Conflict (Boston and Toronto: Little, Brown & Company, 1965); Robert C. Williams, Culture in Exile: Russian Émigrés in Germany, 1881–1941 (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1972); Johannes Baur, Die Russische Kolonie in München 1900–1945: deutsch-russische Beziehungen im 20 Jahrhundert (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 1998); Michael Kellogg, The Russian Roots of Nazism: White Émigrés and the Making of National Socialism, 1917–1945 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005); Denis Jdanoff, ‘Russische Faschisten’. Der nationalsozialistische Flügel der russischen Emigration im Dritten Reich (MA thesis, Humboldt University Berlin, 2003).

[7] Lampe to B. A. Shteifon, January 12, 1933. State Archive of the Russian Federation (GARF.) F. 5853. Op.1. D. 51a. L. 232–233.

[8] Lampe to E. K. Miller, January 15, 1933. GARF. F. 5853. Op. 1. D. 51a. L. 14–22.

[9] L. S. Ritter, Schreiben für die Weiße Sache: General Aleksej von Lampe als Chronist der russischen Emigration, 1920–1965 (Köln: Böhlau Verlag, 2019), 229.

[10] Römer to Kurt Daluege, August 4, 1933. GARF. F. 5853. Op. 1. D.53. L. 225–227. According to Römer’s letter, Lampe as early as 1931 “placed himself, with all his experience and along with his collaborators, at the service of the National Socialist Party.”

[11] Von Scheubner-Richter to the Polizeipräsidium München, August 31, 1921. Staatsarchiv München, Pol. Dir. Mü. 15537. Unpag.

[12] The story that directly after the putsch Hitler hid at Biskupskii’s house in the country, a tale put into scholarly circulation by the light hands of Boris Nikolaevskii and Walter Laqueur, is mythical. B. Nikolaevskii, “Zloveshchaia figura staroi Rossii,” Sotsialisticheskii Vestnik 1 (New York, 1948): 18; Walter Laqueur, op. cit., p. 110; Nikolaevskii to Laqueur, March 20, 1962. Hoover Institution Archives (HIA), Boris I. Nicolaevsky Collection, Box 487, Folder 44.

[13] A. Rosenberg, Der Zukunftsweg einer deutschen Außenpolitik (Munich: Franz Eher Verlag, 1927), 80.

[14] Biskupskii to Rosenberg, September 28, 1926. Bundesarchiv Berlin (BA Berlin) NS 8/290, Bl. 44.

[15] Biskupskii to Rosenberg, December 21, 1931. Archiv des Instituts für Zeitgeschichte (Archiv IfZ), MA 128/5, Unpag.

[16] Rosenberg to Biskupskii, December 30, 1931.

[17] Schickedanz to Rosenberg, November 8, 1932. B.A. Berlin, NS 8/116, Bl. 6, 12.

[18] Biskupskii to Schickedanz, January 13, 1933. Archiv IfZ, MA 128/5. Unpag.

[19] Russian Military State Archive (RGVA). F. 1323. Op.2. D.171. L. 495.

[20] The killing was committed by the stormtrooper Alfred Buske. Bernhard Sauer, “Goebbels ‘Rabauken’. Zur Geschichte der SA in Berlin-Brandenburg,” in Berlin in Geschichte und Gegenwart. Jahrbuch des Landesarchivs Berlin 2006, ed. Klaus Dettmer and Werner Breunig (Berlin: Gebr. Mann, 2007), 139–140.

[21] Lampe to Miller, February 19, 1933. GARF. F. 5853. Op. 1. D. 51a. L. 39–42.

[22] W. von Tippelskirch to G. Hilger, February 28, 1933. Politisches Archiv des Auswärtigen Amts, Berlin (PAAA), R31666, Bl. 91. In reply, it was decided to point to the impossibility of investigating the details and to express surprise that the Soviet side relied on reports in emigrant newspapers.

[23] [A note on V. Kozhin], Archiv IfZ, MA 128/5, Unpag.; Khomutov’s report on Russian émigré organizations. GARF. F. 5853. Op. 1. D. 53. L. 63–68. A meeting of this committee on March 8 appears to have debated whether Lampe was a Mason, in connection with which Lampe on March 17 sent Adlerberg a denial: “[The accusation] is a deliberate lie […] that is being disseminated by a particular circle of individuals with the aim of mounting a political struggle not against me, but against the military organization that I have the honor to represent.” GARF. F. 5853. Op. 1. D. 53. L. 62.

[24] Lampe to Miller, February 6, 1933. GARF. F. 5853. Op. 1. D. 51a. L. 35–37. Presumably, those referred to were Germans of Russian provenance or from the Baltic countries rather than “pure” emigrants. In addition, stories of membership in the NSDAP, and even of closeness to its top levels, were often intended to enhance the personal status of those making the claims.

[25] “Ot redaktsii,” Chasovoi 98, February 15, 1933, p. 25; Shabel’skii-Bork to Schickedanz, April 29, 1933. Archiv IfZ, MA 128/5, Unpag.

[26] Lampe to P. N. Shatilov, March 14, 1933. GARF. F. 5853. Op. 1. D. 51a. L. 157–158.

[27] Poltavets-Ostrianitsa to Hitler, February 10, 1933. BA Berlin, NS 8/100, Bl. 55–57.

[28] For more detail, see: I. R. Petrov, “‘Povsiudu rasprostranilsia slukh, chto ia nichego ne dobilsia’: perepiska V. Biskupskogo s A. Rozenbergom,” in Posobniki. Issledovaniia i materialy po istorii otechestvennogo kollaboratsionizma, ed. D. Zhukov and I. Kovtun (Moscow: Piatyi Rim, 2020), 307–382.

[29] Biskupskii to Schickedanz, February 25, 1933. Archiv IfZ, MA 128/5, Unpag.

[30] N. V. Snessarev, Kirill Pervyi… imperator Koburgskii, (Berlin: n.p., 1925), 51.

[31] M. Massip, Istinadoch’ vremeni: Aleksandr Kazem-Bek i russkaia emigratsiia na Zapade (Moscow: Iazyki slavianskoi kul’tury, 2010), 224.

[32] Likhachev to Hitler, March 6 and 18, 1933. BA Berlin R43 II/1488, Bl. 7, 10; Likhachev to K. von Neurath, March 18, 1933. PAAA R31666, Bl. 93.

[33] “K russkim v Germanii,” March 31, 1933. PAAA R31666, Bl 241.

[34] K. Schlögel et al., eds, Chronik russischen Lebens in Deutschland 1918–1941 (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1998), 452.

[35] N. Vokhin, “Pis’ma iz Berlina,” Tsarskii Vestnik, Belgrade, no. 327, March 19, 1933, p. 3.

[36] Lampe’s diary, March 13, 1933. GARF. F. 5853. Op. 1. D. 51a. L. 2–5.

[37] Dmitriev to Lampe, August 6, 1930. GARF. F. 5853. Op. 1. D. 53. L. 29–30.

[38] Shabel’skii-Bork to Schickedanz, March 14, no year, and April 4, 1933. Archiv IfZ, MA 128/5, Unpag.

[39] Biskupskii to Schickedanz, March 22, 1933; Shabel’skii-Bork to Schickedanz, April 4, 1933. Archiv IfZ, MA 128/5, Unpag.

[40] “Hitlers Sportpalast-Rede,” Vössische Zeitung, Berlin, no. 105 (Morgen-Ausg.), March 3, 1933, p. 2.

[41] V.F. Florov had mistakenly addressed Helling as a colonel, although the latter was a captain in retirement. In a letter of April 23, Lampe sought to convince Helling that his department of ROVS was not receiving material support from France or anywhere else. This was not correct. Lampe to Helling, April 23, 1933; Miller to Lampe, April 27, 1934. GARF. F. 5853. Op. 1. D. 54. L. 94, 139.

[42] Florov to Miller, March 12, 1933. GARF. F. 5853. Op. 1 D. 51a. L. 51–53.

[43] Miller to Florov, March 22, 1933. Bakhmeteff Archive of Russian and East European Culture, Columbia University, New York (BAR). ROVS Records, Box 14. Miller to Lampe, March 25, 1933. GARF. F. 5853. Op. 1. D. 51a. L. 47–51. In internal directives, the rules were softened substantially; lower-ranking officers were required to report on each case in which a member of ROVS joined the NSDAP, after which Lampe aimed to “consider each case separately and decide how to deal with it.” Lampe to V. P. Bressler and P. A. Novopashennyi, March 25, 1933. GARF. F. 5853. Op. 1. D. 51a. L. 193–196.

[44] Lampe’s report, April 2, 1933. GARF. F. 5853. Op. 1. D. 51a. L. 110–119.

[45] Abt. I Polizeipräsident to Stahlhelm, April 8, 1933. BA Berlin R72/261, Bl. 168–169, 174–180. Dmitriev’s pen name on the list is Dmitrii Vetrov.

[46] BA Berlin R1501/125707, Bl. 123. The list of 28 organizations is contained in BA Berlin R1501/125707, Bl. 124. It matches the list of 42 organizations that in 1932 had taken part in the Day of Russian Culture (UN Archive, C 1256/71), but does not include legitimist or Jewish organizations.

[47] Lampe to Göring, March 18, 1933. GARF. F. 5853. Op. 1. D. 51a. L. 191–192.

[48] Lampe regularly supplied such information on Russian emigrants to the Berlin office of the Nansen Committee, and possibly to the police as well. It was only from 1939 that he became a regular Gestapo informant, at a pay rate of 25 marks per week. Lampe to E. A. Fal’kovskii, February 26, 1933, UN Archive, C 1253/168.1, Liste der V-Personen. BA Berlin R 58/10126, Bl. 32.

[49] “Pisatel’ Iv. Konoplin o svoem areste i vysylke iz Germanii,” Novoe Russkoe Slovo, no. 7407, May 8, 1933, p. 1; Anlage 2 to Lampe’s letter to von Levetzow, July 28, 1933. GARF. F. 5853. Op. 1. D. 53. L. 134–137, 138–141.

[50] N. Volkovyskii, “Chto predstavliaiut soboiu russkie natsi v Berline,” Segodnia, Riga, no. 198, July 20, 1933, p. 3.

[51] Lampe to Miller, June 18, 1933. GARF. F. 5853. Op. 1. D. 53. L. 79–83; N. Volkovyskii, “Kto stoit vo glave russkikh natsi v Berline,” Segodnia, no. 199, July 21, 1933, p. 3.

[52] HIA, Boris I. Nicolaevsky Collection, Box 752, Folder 13.

[53] “Pora poniat’.” GARF. F. 5853. Op. 1. D. 54. L. 96–100.

[54] HIA, Boris I. Nicolaevsky Collection, Box 752, Folder 13.

[55] For comparison, Dmitrievskii’s lecture attracted 25 people, while that of Höfding two days later, which Lampe considered a great success, drew 100. Lampe’s report, April 10, 1933. GARF. F. 5853. Op. 1. D. 51a. L. 66–69.

[56] “Berlinskaia zhizn’,” Nash vek, Berlin, no. 71, April 16, 1933.

[57] Russian anthem. GARF. F. 5853. Op. 1. D. 54. L. 104.

[58] Lampe to Miller, April 20, 1933. GARF. F. 5853. Op. 1. D. 51a. L. 74–76.

[59] N. Vokhin, “Pis’ma iz Berlina,” Tsarskii Vestnik, no. 335, April 16, 1933, p. 3; Svetozarov’s speech. GARF. F. 5853. Op. 1. D. 51a. L. 61–65.

[60] Lampe to Miller, April 20, 1933.

[61] According to Dmitriev, Poelchau had been accepted into ROND only on March 20 in the capacity of “orator”. In formal terms this was perhaps the case, but he had been present at an “organizational meeting” on March 14. N. Volkovyskii, “Osnovatel’ partii russkikh natsi v Berline uzhe iskliuchen iz partii,” Segodnia, no. 200, July 22, 1933, p. 3; Shabel’skii-Bork to Schickedanz, March 14, 1933.

[62] “Curriculum vitae,” in P. A. Poelchau, Gedichte (Berlin: self-published, 1935), 45–48.

[63] In the mid-1930s, Daluege recalled that Heinrich’s brother Edgar Poelchau had been the author of a German translation of the Italian fascist march Giovinezza. H. Bajer, “Das Lied der SA. Ein Beitrag zur Geschichte der Bewegung,” Nazionalsozialistische Monatshefte, Berlin, no. 82, January 1937, pp. 36–37.

[64] “Soobshchenie Ros. Nats.-Sots. Rab. Partii,” ROND, Berlin, no. 1 [late July 1933], p. 4.

[65] The “Official” expulsion of the “Dmitriev wing” from the party occurred only on July 14. “Soobshcheniia R.N.S.D.,” Probuzhdenie Rossii, Berlin, no. 14–15, September 10, 1933, p. 8.

[66] Lampe to ROND, April 19, 1933; Svetozarov to Lampe, April 24, 1933. GARF. F. 5853. Op.1 D. 53. L. 72–73.

[67] Report by Lampe, April 2, 1933; Lampe to Miller, April 2, 1933. GARF. F. 5853. Op. 1. D. 51a. L. 55–57.

[68] UN Archive, C 1256/171. A protocol notes that in some circumstances “protection certificates” issued by the Nansen Office assisted those subject to the boycott.

[69] Nachrichtenstelle im Reichsministerium des Innern to Auswärtige Amt, April 19, 1933. BA Berlin R58/3199, Bl. 22. The letter notes that the “methods and means through which the Comintern operates in Germany” were not revealed by the author.

[70] Lampe to Miller, April 2, 1933. Miller had supported the idea of Lampe heading the Russian National Socialists. Miller to Lampe, April 21, 1933. GARF. F. 5853. Op. 1. D. 51a. L. 60.

[71] Lampe to Miller, May 1, 1933. GARF. F. 5853. Op. 1. D. 51a. L. 77–89; Russian organizations established in Berlin, 1933. GARF. F. 5853. Op. 1. D. 54. L. 116–120.

[72] Lampe to Miller, May 1, 1933.

[73] Shabel’skii-Bork to Schickedanz, April 29, 1933; “Pisatel’ Iv. Konoplin o svoem areste”; “Pis’ma v redaktsiiu”, Vozrozhdenie, no. 2922, June 2, 1933, p. 6; GARF. F. 5853. Op. 1. D. 53.

[74] Shabel’skii-Bork to Schickedanz, April 29, 1933; Biskupskii to Schickedanz, May 5, 1933. Archiv IfZ, MA 128/5, Unpag.

[75] Lampe to Miller, May 1, 1933; Biskupskii to Schickedanz, May 5, 1933; V. S. Motov, NKVD protiv abvera: nezrimyi poedinok (Moscow: Iauza, 2005), 69.

[76] Biskupskii to Schickedanz, April 20, 1933.

[77] Biskupskii to Schickedanz, May 5, 1933 and May 10, 1933. Archiv IfZ, MA 128/5, Unpag.

[78] Biskupskii to Schickedanz, April 28, 1933 and May 31, 1933. Archiv IfZ, MA 128/5, Unpag.

[79] Shabel’skii-Bork to Schickedanz, April 29, 1933.

[80] N. Vokhin, “Pis’ma iz Berlina,” Tsarskii Vestnik, no. 346, May 28, 1933, p. 3; F. Dassel, “Russische national-sozialistische Bewegung,” Daheim, no. 48, August 31, 1933, p. 13–14. HIA, Boris I. Nicolaevsky Collection, Box 752, Folder 13; “Tag der nationalen Arbeit” in Berlin: Reportage von Massenaufmarsch auf dem Tempelhofer Feld, May 1, 1933. Timing 03:37–03:51. Deutsches Rundfunkarchiv. Archivnummer 2590227, Label code X130 DRA Frankfurt am Main.

[81] “Chto govorit ROND,” Novoe Slovo, Berlin, no. 1, May 21, 1933, p. 3; “Soobshcheniia RONDa,” Golos RONDa, Berlin, no. 1, June 8, 1933, p. 4. Preserved among the documents of the Berlin dentist E. G. Parasochkin are a number of letters with the request to “provide help” to members of ROND. UN Archive, C 1202/67.2 Russian refugees case files.

[82] Lampe to S. A. Volkonskaia, April 23, 1933: “Do you know Baron Moeller-Zakomel’skii, who has turned up here from Paris, wanting to play a role? A man of 35, a cripple (wounded?).” A certificate issued by the Nansen Office indicates that after Moeller-Zakomel’skii arrived in Germany, an operation was performed on him that rendered him immobile for a lengthy period. UN Archive, C 1196/61.1 Russian refugee case files.

[83] Moeller-Zakomel’skii to Il’in, April 26, 1933. Research Library of Moscow State University (NB MGU). I. A. Il’in’s archive. ORK27–005–0174.

[84] Moeller-Zakomel’skii to P. N. Savitskii, April 28, 1933. In A. V. Sobolev, “Ob otnoshenii evraziitsev k fashizmu,” Rossiia XXI, no. 4, July–August 2001, pp. 169–170.

[85] Moeller-Zakomel’skii to Il’in, June 13, 1933. NB MGU, Il’in’s archive. ORK27–005–0174.

[86] I. A. Il’in, “Natsional-sotsializm,” Vozrozhdenie, no. 2906, May 17, 1933, p. 2–3.

[87] PAAA R31666, Bl. 122–122a.

[88] On May 10, the Foreign Ministry received a report stating that the demonstrators intended to proceed past the Soviet Embassy on Unter den Linden. Aufzeichnung von Tippleskirch. PAAA R31666, Bl. 125.

[89] R. Heydrich to R. Hess and others, October 22, 1934. BA Berlin, R1501/125770, Bl. 285–287r.

[90] In his memoirs, Bermondt expressed “profound gratitude for assistance during the time of my illness” to Helling, who had headed the Berlin department of the Baltic Union. P. Awaloff, Im Kampf gegen den Bolschewismus, (Glückstadt and Hamburg: J. J. Augustin, 1925), X.

[91] The former officers of the Western Army who had joined ROVS were as an exception permitted to join the Greater German Baltic Union. Order by Lampe, April 6, 1933. GARF. F. 5853. Op. 1. D. 54. L. 141–142, 143–152.

[92] “Bermondt-Avalov voskhishchen nats-sots. perevorotom,” Segodnia, April 19, 1933, p. 4. With a reference to Berliner Tageblatt.

[93] “General kniaz’ P. Avalov. 14-aia godovshchina,” Novoe Slovo, no. 1, May 21, 1933.

[94] Volkovyskii, “Chto predstavliaiut soboi russkie natsi…”; Lampe to Miller, June 18, 1933.

[95] Sakharov and other generals had again approached Lampe, demanding that he allow ROVS members to join ROND, and had received another refusal. Nor did a personal visit from Poelchau influence Lampe’s position. ROVS officers who had joined ROND were urged to leave the General Military Union voluntarily. Moeller-Zakomel’skii to Lampe, June 12, 1933; Lampe to Miller, June 18, 1933. GARF. F. 5853. Op. 1. D. 53. L. 76–78.

[96] Lampe to Miller, June 18, 1933; “Soobshcheniia RONDa,” Probuzhdenie Rossii, no. 2, June 18, 1933, p. 4.

[97] “Chto govorit ROND.”

[98] A. P. Svetozarov, “Vozzvanie k russkim liudiam,” Golos RONDa, no. 1, p. 1.

[99] Lampe to Miller, June 18, 1933.

[100] “Soobshcheniia RONDa,” Golos RONDa, no. 1, p. 4; Probuzhdenie Rossii, no. 2, p. 4 and no. 3, June 25, 1933, p. 4; “ROND,” Vozrozhdenie, no. 2919, May 30, 1933, p. 5; “Otdel propagandy,” Probuzhdenie Rossii, no. 5, July 9, 1933, p. 4.

[101] “Soobshcheniia RONDa,” Probuzhdenie Rossii, no. 2, p. 2.

[102] Gestapa to AAmt, February 14, 1934. PAAA Moskau 234, Unpag. The Foreign Ministry was informed of the handover of the flag. Aufzeichnung, June 3, 1933. PA 31666, Bl. 149.

[103] Lampe to Miller, June 18, 1933. The emigrants feared that Hitler, who on various occasions had spoken out strongly against foreigners, would begin persecuting them, and this served as an additional stimulus for joining ROND. See the case of Petr Titov. UN Archive, C 1220/85.2. Russian refugees case files.

[104] BA Berlin, R 43–11/1488a, Bl. 35–38.

[105] S. Obolenskii to von Tippelskirch, May 24, 1933, PAAA, R31666, Bl. 133–139; A. Kazem-Bek, “S kommunizmom ili s fashizmom. Segodnia vybor puti,” Mladorosskaia Iskra, Paris, no. 28, April 5, 1933, p. 1.

[106] Aufzeichnung, 05.07.1933. PAAA, R31666, Bl. 180; AAmt to H.-H. Lammers, July 11, 1933; note by Lammers, July 14, 1933. BA Berlin, R 43–II/1488, Bl. 82, 88.

[107] “Khronika,” Golos RONDa, no. 1, p. 4.

[108] “Soobshchenie Ros. Nats.-Sots. Rab. Partii”; Vermerk, July 6, 1933. PAAA R31666, Bl. 172–173.

[109] See the correspondence concerning Gul’ in UN Archive, C 1195/40.1. Russian refugees case files, and also the correspondence with Nikolaevskii. HIA, Boris I. Nicolaevsky Collection, Box 482, Folder 4. Gul’ was released after 21 days and quickly left Germany.

[110] Biskupskii to the Munich police, June 14, 1933. Archiv IfZ, MA 128/5, Unpag. After returning to Germany in June 1933, Khomutov was also arrested, but was not exposed as a Soviet agent and was soon released.

[111] L. N. Biskupskaia to Schickedanz, July 1933. Archiv IfZ, MA 128/5, Unpag.

[112] BA Berlin R72/261; V. S. Motov, NKVD protiv abvera, p. 63.

[113] R. Heydrich to Rosenberg, December 1, 1933. BA Berlin, R43–II/1488a, Bl. 61–62.

[114] Vermerk, January 30, 1934. Archiv IfZ, MA 128/3, Unpag.

[115] BA Berlin NS8/107, Bl. 216–217r.

[116] E. Batsch to Lammers, August 29, 1933. BA Berlin, R43–II/398, Bl. 87–88.

[117] Il’in to N. K. and A. M. Metner, September 12, 1933. NB MGU, Il’in’s archive. ORK27–005–0047. Following the intgerrogation, Il’in left for Switzerland, returning to Germany only in late September.

[118] There is no evidence to show that Arsen’ev became part of ROND, but he joined the SA in July 1933, and in August underwent training in a militarized camp. BA Berlin R4901/13258. Bl. 179.

[119] Moeller-Zakomel’skii to Il’in, May 28, 1933 and June 13, 1933. NB MGU, Il’in’s archive. ORK27–005–0174.

[120] I. A. Il’in, “O provokatsii,” Vozrozhdenie, no. 2937, 17.06.1933, p. 1.

[121] A letter written by Vladimir Levashov evidently represented the last attempt by ROND activists to reach agreement with Il’in. V. S. Levashov to Il’in, June 20, 1933. NB MGU, Il’in’s archive. ORK27–005–0164.

[122] Moeller-Zakomel’skii to Savitskii, September 9, 1933 in A.V. Sobolev, “Ob otnoshenii evraziitsev k fashizmu,” 173–175; A. M.[el’skii], Front Page. Probuzhdenie Rossii, no. 3, June 25, 1933, p. 1.

[123] V. Stroev to Il’in, June 30, 1933. NB MGU, Il’in’s archive. ORK27–005–0239.

[124] “For the past six months people have been telling me, from various directions, that Moeller-Zakomel’skii has been complicit in denouncing me politically. These rumors, as rumurs, I related to Arsen’ev in a confidential, face-to-face conversation.” Compare this with “Bunge saw a denunciation of me, Matankin and Moeller, paragraph 21, 1934.” Il’in to I. Shakhovskoi, late April 1934. NB MGU, Il’in’s archive. ORK27–005–0018; I. A. Il’in, Vstrechi i besedy / Sobranie sochinenii: Pis’ma. Memuary. (1939–1954) (Moscow: Russkaia kniga, 1999), 320.

[125] “Nash Vozhd’,” Probuzhdenie Rossii, no. 4, July 2, 1933, p. 3; “Torzhestvennoe otkrytie otdela ROND v g. Gamburge,” Probuzhdenie Rossii, no. 5, p. 2; A. M.[el’skii], front page, same issue, p. 1.

[126] See poster in HIA, Boris I. Nicolaevsky Collection, Box 752, Folder 13. According to the organizers, the festival attracted 8,000 people. Tickets to the value of 1,713 marks were sold to the first festival, with the net proceeds (taking into account the income from a lottery, etc., and also expenses) coming to 1,618 marks. In the case of the second festival, ticket sales brought in 1,078 marks and the net proceeds came to 494 marks. “Prazdnik ROND v Luna-parke,” Probuzhdenie Rossii, no. 5, p. 2; reports are available in the same newspaper no. 6, July 16, 1933, p. 2 and no. 8, July 30, 1933, p. 4.

[127] Lampe to Miller, May 1, 1933; “Otkrytoe sobranie,” Probuzhdenie Rossii, no. 8, July 30, 1933, p. 4.

[128] P. A. Poelchau to Daluege, October 9, 1936. BA Berlin PK J0134.

[129] “Sobranie ROND 6 iiulia,” Probuzhdenie Rossii, no. 5, p. 4.

[130] N. Vokhin, “Letters from Berlin,” Tsarskii Vestnik, no. 352, July 9, 1933,p. 1; V. Orekhov, “Mysli belogvardeitsa,” Chasovoi, no. 105, June 1933, pp. 3–4; N. Nikol’skii, “Otkrytoe pis’mo g. redaktoru ‘Chasovogo’,” Probuzhdenie Rossii, no. 6, p. 4; V. Orekhov, “Mysli belogvardeitsa,” Chasovoi, no. 107, August 1933, pp. 2–3. Lampe believed that Moeller-Zakomel’ski was using the alias “Nikol’skii” to cover himself: Lampe to Orekhov, July 23, 1933. GARF. F. 5853. Op.1. D. 54. L. 170.

[131] M. Kol’tsov, “Liudi temnogo naznacheniia,” Pravda, Moscow, July 17, 1933, p. 4.

[132] PAAA R31666, Bl. 39ff.

[133] ROND [Dmitriev’s newspaper], pp. 1–4.

[134] A. Svetozarov, “Doloi masku,” Probuzhdenie Rossii, no. 9, August 16,1933, p. 1.

[135] Vermerk, July 6, 1933; the program is stored in PAAA R31666, Bl. 174–179.

[136] Frits, “Belogvardeiskie naemniki germanskoi kontrrevoliutsii,” Pravda, May 9, 1933, p. 4. Bermondt-Avalov’s response may be found in Novoe Slovo, no. 2, July 14, 1933, p. 2.

[137] Von Dirksen to AAmt, June 13, 1933. PAAA Moskau 199. Unpag.

[138] Von Dirksen to AAmt, July 17, 1933; Von Tippelskirch to Deutsche Gesandschaft, July 26, 1933. PAAA Moskau 234. Unpag.

[139] AAmt to Lammers, July 24, 1933. BA Berlin R43II/1488, Bl. 115. A report in Poslednie Novosti on August 11, 1933 entitled “ROND v Berline. Krestinskii ofitsial’no protestuet po povodu antisovetskoi deiatel’nosti russkikh ‘natsi’” probably reflected the same protest.

[140] “Ot redaktsii,” Probuzhdenie Rossii, no. 7, July 21, 1933, p. 2.

[141] Telegramm, August 10, 1933. PAAA Moskau 234. Unpag.

[142] Von Blomberg to Hitler, July 5, 1933. BA Berlin R43II/1488, Bl. 70–71.

[143] “Verbot der russischen Nationalsozialisten in Mecklenburg,” Vossische Zeitung, Berlin, no. 385, August 13, 1933, p. 3.

[144] R. Praschker, “Brandenburg,” in Konzentrationslager: ein Appell an das Gewissen der Welt. Ein Buch der Greuel, die Opfer klagen an (Karlsbad: Verlagsanstalt “Graphia”, 1934), 139–141.

[145] Aufzeichnung, August 14, 1933. PAAA 31666, Bl. 292–293. “No more Russian version of the National Socialist uniform, no more swastika symbols painted in Russian national colors are to be seen around […] a swastika-bearing Russian national flag is not flying before the quarters of the ROND anymore.”

E. V., “Forma i znachki v Berline,” Vozrozhdenie, no. 3005, August 23, 1933, p. 5.

[146] A. M.[el’skii], Front page. Probuzhdenie Rossii, no. 11, August 20, 1933, p. 1.

[147] N. V.[okhin], “Pis’ma iz Berlina,” Tsarskii Vestnik, no. 361, September 9, 1933, p. 2.

[148] “Vsem! Vsem! Vsem!,” Probuzhdenie Rossii, no. 13, May 3, 1933, p. 1; “Soobshcheniia RNSD,” Probuzhdenie Rossii, no. 12, August 27, 1933, p. 4.

[149] Russkaia zhizn’, Berlin, no. 1, 1933. Quoted in: HIA, Boris I. Nicolaevsky Collection, Box 752, Folder 13.

[150] “Soobshcheniia RNSD,” Probuzhdenie Rossii, no. 17, September 24, 1933, p. 4.

[151] Moeller-Zakomel’skii to Savitskii, September 9, 1933.

[152] “Ocherednoe sobranie RNSD,” Probuzhdenie Rossii, no. 14–15, p. 4; Probuzhdenie Rossii, no. 16, September 17, 1933, p. 4. An account of one of these gatherings was provided by Georgii Ivanov, who had previously visited the headquarters of the RNSD, where he had been received by Bermondt-Avalov. The writer described his meeting with the latter in grotesque tones. “Po Evrope na avtomobile,” Poslednie Novosti, Paris, no. 4639, December 4, 1933, p. 3 and no. 4644, December 9, 1933, p. 3.

[153] “Ocherednoe sobranie RNSD,” Probuzhdenie Rossii, no. 17, p. 4; Fashist [Magazine] no. 5, 1933; N. Vokhin, “Pis’ma iz Berlina,” Tsarskii Vestnik, no. 364, January 10, 1933, p. 2.

[154] See in Aufzeichnung, August 14, 1933: “It should be anticipated that the ROND group will be transformed into an emigrant circle of little significance, while the newspaper will lose any political influence and become the information bulletin of that circle.”

[155] “Pis’ma iz Berlina,” Tsarskii Vestnik, no. 365, October 8, 1933, p. 2.

[156] “Verbot des ROND,” Berliner Morgenpost, no. 232, September 28, 1933, p. 2. According to Kazem-Bek, the ban on ROND was linked by “well-informed circles” with “the desire of the German government to maintain friendly relations with its Soviet counterpart” and also reflected dissatisfaction with the leadership and activities of ROND. The first of these arguments may be queried, since it was precisely these days that saw the beginning of the Leipzig Trial, related to the burning of the Reichstag, and several Soviet journalists had been arrested in Leipzig. This in turn resulted in the expulsion of German journalists from the USSR. Massip, Istina—doch’ vremeni, p. 229; Niederschrift über die Chefbesprechung am 26.09.1933 and Zeitungsauschnitte. BA Berlin R43–II/1488, Bl. 140–145, 146–147.

[157] “Pis’ma iz Berlina,” Tsarskii Vestnik, no. 366, October 15, 1933, p. 2.

[158] Aufzeichnung, September 27, 1933. PAAA R31666, Bl. 34.

[159] In late 1933, Moellenhoff arrived from Shanghai, where he had been among the informants of the Soviet military intelligence operative Richard Sorge. Mikhail Alekseev, “Vernyi vam Ramzai”: Rikhard Zorge i sovetskaia voennaia razvedka v Iaponii 1933–1938 gody. Kniga 1 (Moscow: Algoritm, 2020).